On October 23, 2017, in the middle of a mega rally in Gandhinagar, Alpesh Thakor the chief of Thakor Sena, held hands with the Indian National Congress (INC) supremo Rahul Gandhi and raised his hands as a referee does of a winner, after a gruelling wrestling match. Lakhs of people had filled up the ground and hung on to every word that Thakor had to say. 24 hours later, experts started making their deductions that it was career suicide for Alpesh Thakor to join INC. 48 hours later, the rumours filled up the power corridors of Gandhinagar that the newly anointed Congress leader was a ‘B-team’ of BJP in Gujarat. One assembly election and numerous refusal statements later, the rumours are still going strong today.
Sources have communicated that Alpesh, who has always been more than friendly with the BJP leaders – even in the Vidhan Sabha – is not happy with the Congress party because he is not getting ‘enough responsibilities in Gujarat’. Over the past three months, there have been several late night meetings in Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) leaders’ houses to strategize over the ‘Alpesh situation’. A few weeks back, there was also an emergency meeting called for at the residence of Arjun Modhwadia to discuss Lok Sabha election strategies and also to discuss Thakor’s behaviour. In fact, there was also an emergency meeting between Alpesh and other senior leaders like Bharatsinh Solanki, Arjun Modhwadia, Amit Chavda - the former and current GPCC president respectively.
Alpesh has not yet confirmed any of these statements but has sent passive aggressive messages to his party via the media. In several interviews to Republic TV, he has also taken a stand that is different to that of the party 'high command’ in Delhi. To name a few, when the recent circular was released by the Ministry of Education, Government of Gujarat, that students will now have to say ‘Jai Hind’ instead of 'Yes’ or ‘present’, Congress leaders like Abhishek Manu Singhvi, etc had said that this was ‘imposed nationalism’as though it was a dirty word. But Alpesh came out strongly against it and spoke in an interview with the channel, ‘whoever is saying this is wrong. We should promote such things which inculcate the feelings of nationalism in students’.’ He had also lashed out against Congress leader Sagheer Saeed Khan for making terrorism-empathising statements in J&K.
Problems also seem to be piling up for Thakor ever since he was at the epicentre of the controversy of the mass exodus of the ‘parprantis’ (non-Gujaratis) from Gujarat in October 2018. After that is when the reports surfaced that the (Congress) party wanted to take back the newly given designation of All India Congress Committee’s Secretary in-charge for Bihar from the young leader. That, perhaps, was the tipping point of the relationship between Rahul Gandhi and Alpesh Thakor as well, since on January 22, 2018, a court in Mirzapur also ordered local police to register an FIR against him.
Now, the rumours are no longer murmurs in the government and political party circuits but outright questions posed to Alpesh who has been refusing these allegations with loyal indignation. On Wednesday, another video of the Thakor Sena chief came out – this time in the middle of a rally, coming out on the road, hugging and meeting with the former cabinet minister from BJP, Shankar Chaudhary. Sources have also suggested that the two leaders also had a midnight meeting in the Banaskatha itself. Alpesh’s office denied these statements and claimed, ‘he is cordial with all leaders – regardless of their political affiliations. The two leaders only met once in Banaskatha’.