Congress leader Alpesh Thakor, who is at the epicentre of controversy relating to the mass exodus of non-Gujaratis in the state, spoke to Republic TV and denied all the allegations levelled against him. While speaking to Republic TV's Priyanka Sharma, Alpesh agreed that his Thakor Sena workers "must have threatened people". In the same breath, he also stated that none of his workers resorted to violence.
"First thing first, I don't completely deny the allegations on Thakor Sena. I agree that 2-3 boys from Thakor Sena would have been present during the incident but they did not resort to violence. Yes, they must have threatened them which I agree is unacceptable. Gujarat is for everyone. I have said it time and again, even before the incident, that certain people are trying to frame my Thakor Sena. They are using my name to suppress poor people. This is an attempt to defame Gujarat. How can I do this? I am a humanitarian", he stated.
On Monday, the Gujarat police officials identified the man who was seen threatening non-Gujaratis in a video. The Police confirmed that the man in the footage is an elected local Taluka Panchayat member of Congress named MV Thakore. When confronted, Alpesh Thakor said:
"To put allegations on any party is wrong. All these allegations about discrimination are false. These are marketed rumours and secondly, this incident gave oxygen to the rumours. From the very beginning, I am the only one appealing that the person who committed this horrific rape should get death sentence. That person doesn't belong to any caste, creed or state. He is an accused who should be punished".
When asked whether it was an organized crime, Aplesh Thakor said:
"I agree that it was an organized crime, however, my party members did put a full stop on the campaign after our demands were fulfilled. We staged a candle march and during that time not even a single incident of violence was reported. The point is that when our demands were fulfilled then what is the point of all this. Just three days after the protest, this incident took place. This is a debatable issue as to who all are behind this incident?"
When asked about the mass exodus of non-Gujaratis from the state, the leader gave out the following reasoning:
"All those who have left the state have gone to celebrate Chhat Puja. Due to rumours in the media, they were scared. We were not behind any divide the incident. I will meet people from UP and Bihar and give them assurance. Don't defame me. I am not a culprit. I will quit if proven guilty".