Hindutva matters to common Gujaratis, it cannot be disassociated from social justice: Alpesh Thakor
Ahmedabad, Nov 24 (PTI) Common Gujaratis, even backward classes, associate themselves with Hindutva and it cannot be disassociated from social justice, BJP leader Alpesh Thakor said on Thursday.
Thakor, who was once termed an outsider in his erstwhile constituency Radhanpur in Patan district, is now a star campaigner for the BJP candidate, Lavinjai Thakor.
He came into limelight in the last assembly polls as the convener of the Gujarat Kshatriya Thakor Sena and the OBC-SC-ST Ekta Manch and won his first election from Radhanpur as a Congress candidate. In 2019, he resigned from the Congress and the Assembly to join the BJP. However, he lost the subsequent Assembly bypoll.
He is contesting the upcoming Assembly polls from Gandhinagar South, a seat with a sizeable Thakor population.
Campaigning for Lavinjai Thakor in Radhanpur, he said for him OBC issues are still the most important and many of them have been addressed by the BJP.
"Issues which impact backwards, Dalit and tribals are more important to me and I will continue to raise them in whichever political side I am in," he told PTI.
Asked about his switch from the Congress to the BJP, Thakor said he had left the grand old party because of state leaders.
"I will not personally attack Rahul Gandhi. I didn't leave the Congress because of him. He is a good social activist but may not be a politician. I left the Congress because of state leaders," Thakor said.
Another reason, he said, is that the Congress has nothing to offer to his community.
"How long can a community be out of power. We also want to be in power to get our people's work done. My workers were not given their due in Congress. The party is in oblivion but for its leaders, election is a business season, and after elections they buy property and luxury cars," he charged.
Asked about the BJP's Hindutva agenda, he said common Gujaratis, including backwards, associate themselves with Hindutva.
"Hindutva matters to common Gujaratis, including backwards. Hindutva must comprise social justice. You cannot disassociate it from social justice. Both cannot be contradictory," he said.
Thakor hails from a political family and never misses an opportunity to highlight the family's earlier association with the Jan Sangh, with his father even showing a picture of him and Alpesh with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the 1991 Ekta Yatra.
This time Thakor is contesting from Gandhinagar South, won by the BJP's Shambhuji Thakor in 2012 and 2017. The Congress has fielded its spokesperson Himanshu Patel, a local Patidar, from the seat, and another Patidar, Dolat Patel, is contesting on an AAP ticket.
The Thakors form the single largest group in this seat, followed by the Patidars.
Voting to elect a new 182-member Gujarat Assembly will be held in two phases -- December 1 (89 seats) and 5 (93 seats) -- and the votes will be counted on December 8.
Both Radhanpur and Gandhinagar South will vote in the second phase. PTI JTR SMN SMN