Alpesh Thakor, the Congress MLA from Gujarat, is a youth leader courageous enough to call himself an OBC politician. While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) managed to win the election, the victory did not come easy. One of the key people who came in the way of a convincing BJP victory was Alpesh Thakor. Now he has set his sights on Madhya Pradesh to give OBC politics a new dimension. He has said that the OBCs in the state will be brought together, as in Gujarat, to defeat the ruling BJP in the assembly elections.
An identity forged in OBC movement
Alpesh Thakor was born on 7 November 1975. He initiated his first social movement in 2011 and put together a regional Thakor army. Consequently, he became the leader of the movements for the rights of Gujarat’s Thakor community. He also organized a movement for the passing of strict laws against the availability of liquor in a Prohibition state. His activism received recognition in Gujarat. That the strength of the regional Thakor army is now 700000 is proof of this recognition. Alpesh started a new movement along the lines of Hardik Patel’s Patidar movement. He set up the OSS (OBC, SC, ST) Unity Forum and demanded reservations in proportion to population. It was this movement that led to his arrest during an meeting of the OBC community in Mehsana district in 2015.
Took the battle to Modi
During the 2017 Gujarat elections, Alpesh Thakor was accepted as an OBC leader. He contested the Radhanpur constituency on a Congress ticket and won a seat in the assembly. It was Alpesh’s influence that helped Congress raise its tally to 77 seats. About Narendra Modi, he says that the Indian prime minister calls himself an OBC while canvassing but then forgets about the community after winning the election. “Modi hasn’t done anything for the OBCs,” Alpesh said. He foresees OBC youths playing an important role in politics because their own leaders have been responsible for their backwardness.
OBC unity in Madhya Pradesh
With the Gujarat elections behind him, Alpesh is now campaigning in Madhya Pradesh to promote OBC unity. He has now Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in his crosshairs even though Chouhan himself is also an OBC. Despite being allotted 27 per cent reservations in government jobs, Alpesh says, OBCs are still deprived of their Constitutional rights. He says that this is true of the Backwards in Madhya Pradesh too. “We will hold a huge convention of OBCs, SCs, STs and minorities in Madhya Pradesh within three months,” he said. He added that local OBC youth associations have been set up in 29 assembly constituencies and that the remaining 201 constituencies too will have their associations in the next 6 months. He criticized Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s government for the lack of development among the backward castes. “We will keep fighting for the rights for the backward castes,” he said.
OBCs, SCs and STs in Congress’ manifesto
According to Alpesh, issues pertaining to OBCs, SCs and STs will figure in the Congress party’s manifesto for the upcoming Madhya Pradesh Assembly Elections. On Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s view that even selling pakodas is a job, Alpesh says that the prime minister wants the poor to be even poorer, hence this advice to the country’s degree-holding youth.
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