Jaishankar wins RS bypoll; Alpesh Thakor resigns from Assembly


Gandhinagar (India), July 5: Disgruntled Congerss Alpesh Thakor and Dhavalsinh Zala resigned from Gujarat Assembly after Rajya Sabha by-polls that saw External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and another BJP candidate Juglaji Thakor hurtling towards certain victory on Friday. 

According to the Indian Media, Though the election officials were yet to make formal announcement, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani informed the media about the victory of the two BJP candidates here.

The Congress had nominated Chandrika Chudasama and Gaurav Pandya for the two seats, which fell vacant when BJP president Amit Shah and Union minister Smriti Irani were elected to the Lok Sabha.

Jaishankar and Thakor, an OBC leader,  secured over 100 votes.

"Both our candidates have won with a thumping majority. The Congress tried to create hurdles and went up to the Supreme Court, but it failed," Rupani told reporters.

"The result is yet to be declared officially but it is clear that we have won," the chief minister said.

Congress MLAs Alpesh Thakor and Dhavalsinh Zala both resigned from the Gujarat Assembly after voting. 

A senior Congress leader said both disgruntled MLAs indulged in "cross-voting" as they gave their votes to Bharatiya Janata Party candidates instead of Congress nominees. 

Thakor, who launched a vitriolic attack on the Congress after resigning from the Assembly membership, said he voted for "honest national leadership".

"I and Zala have resigned as Congress MLAs. We have submitted our resignation to the Assembly speaker, Thakor told reporters here.

"I have cast my vote for honest national leadership that wants to take the country to new heights. I cast vote as per my inner voice," Thakor said when asked if he has cross- voted in the Rajya Sabha polls.

The 43-year-old MLA from Radhanpur, who is a prominent OBC leader in Gujarat, said he was not happy in the Congress, which he joined in 2017.

"I got nothing other than mental stress while in Congress. I am free from that burden," he said.

Thakor said he had conveyed his grievances to national leaders of the Congress, including Rahul Gandhi, but nothing happened.

"Ever since we have joined Congress, we received nothing but betrayal. I had informed Rahul Gandhi that attempts will be made to suppress honest leaders.

"But, unfortunately, he couldn't do anything. As a result, we were subjected to humiliation in the party," Thakor alleged.

"I was unable to do anything for my community as a Congress MLA. The Congress tried to defame me. Party leaders even asked me to resign. Thus, I and Zala have resigned today," said Thakor, who heads an outfit of his community.

Zala, the MLA from Bayad in Sabarkantha district, said he was not feeling comfortable in the main opposition party.

"I have also resigned as a Congress MLA. I was not comfortable with the party's ideology. Though I had made several complaints about some people who were working against the party, no action was taken against them by our leaders.

Party workers were also unhappy over this issue," said Zala.

Both the legislators did not reveal their future course of action, but it is believed they will soon join the ruling BJP.

Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Paresh Dhanani of the Congress said apart from Thakor and Zala all the other 69 MLAs voted for the party candidates in the bypolls. 

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