BHOPAL: The group of three — Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakor and Jignesh Mewani that helped opposition Congress come close to unseating the BJP from power in Gujarat, will now play active political role in the saffron-party ruled Madhya Pradesh, where assembly polls are slated towards the end of this year.
Other Backward Caste (OBC) leader and newly elected Congress MLA from Gujarat, Alpesh Thakor on Monday made it amply clear that all three of them (Hardik, Jignesh and he) will come to MP to teach lesson to the BJP, which despite being in power in the state since last 14 years has done anything for the backward castes, scheduled caste, scheduled tribes and minorities.
“All three of us will come to MP and expose the BJP government’s failure to render justice to the OBC, scheduled caste, scheduled tribes, minorities, farmers and unemployed, despite the party being in power in the state for last several years,” Thakor told journalists in Bhopal on Monday.
Thakor, who as an OBC leader and not as Congress leader is in MP at the call of young Gurjar community leader Lokendra Gurjar said “I’ll address a public rally in Satna district of MP on Tuesday, which will signal the start of our movement for getting the OBCs, SC, ST and minorities their rights in BJP-ruled MP. A big conclave of OBC, SC, ST and minorities will be held after three months. Presently our movement has presence in 29 assembly segments of MP, but we’ll try and spread it in all the assembly segments of the state,” said Thakor.
“The OBC have been rendered 27 per cent reservation, but in Gujarat they have only been given only around 15 per cent share in government jobs by the BJP government, while in MP the figure is much lower at 5-6 per cent. The OBC can support anyone in MP, except BJP,” he maintained.
Thakor added that support of the OBC, who constitute almost half of MP’s population will only go to that party which supports their cause. “I’ll meet Congress national president Rahul Gandhi and request him to include in the manifesto issues concerning the OBC. We’ll first ensure that Congress’ election manifesto in MP properly addresses OBC issues, only after that we’ll demand our share of seats,” he said.
While maintaining that Congress national president Rahul Gandhi is his “boss,” who loves him (Thakor) as a brother, the OBC leader denied that he was feeling suffocated in the party. “I’m no longer just a free-bird leader associated with any movement, but am a disciplined worker of a party as well, who has to respect certain restrictions. But one thing I can say for sure is that Rahul Gandhi and Congress pursue the political ideology of nationalism, cohesion and positive change, unlike the BJP and Modi Saheb, who pursue the politics of division and vendetta,” said Thakor.
He also sought a public apology from MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan for reportedly slapping one of his security personnel (who hails from Gurjar community) recently at a road show. “If the MP CM is so committed to not allowing security come between him and commoners, why doesn’t he return his security escort and commandoes to move like a commoner.”
Importantly, MP houses large chunk of OBC voters, accounting to around 50 per cent of total electorate. All three CMs of BJP in the state since 2003, including Uma Bharti, Babulal Gaur and Shivraj Singh Chouhan have been from OBC segment only. Eyeing to consolidate the OBC vote bank, the present CM had recently inducted three OBC faces, Jalam Patel, Balkrishna Patidar and Narayan Singh Kushwah in the council of ministers.