Patna, Oct 17 :The Congress on Wednesday appeared to distance itself from Alpesh Thakor, the Gujarat MLA who is an AICC secretary in-charge for Bihar and has been blamed by the ruling BJP in the western state for the recent attacks on migrants from the Hindi belt.
At a joint press conference here, Bihar Congress president Madan Mohan Jha and BPCC campaign committee chairman Akhilesh Prasad Singh said all top party leaders, besides allies, would be attending a function here on October 21. When asked if Alpesh Thakor was among the invitees, they said no invitation has been sent to him.
"We wish to discount some media reports that RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav and AICC in-charge Shaktisinh Gohil will not be attending the birth anniversary celebrations of Shri Krishna Singh. Both the leaders will be very much present. And so will be many other party leaders like former Lok Sabha Speaker Meera Kumar and ex-Union minister Shakeel Ahmed Khan and alliance partners like Hindustani Awam Morcha chief and former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi, they said.
Shri Krishna Singh, the first Chief Minister of Bihar,was a powerful leader belonging to the Bhumihar caste who occupied the post till his death in 1961. Celebration of his birth anniversary is seen as an attempt by the Congress to win back a section of the upper castes who have traditionally been its voters in the state but have gravitated towards the BJP recently.
At the celebrations last year, Tejashwis father and RJD supremo Lalu Prasad was the chief guest.
When asked about the possibility of Thakor attending the function, Jha and Singh said "After being appointed the AICC secretary in-charge of the state, he has visited Bihar only once. As far as we know, no invitation has been sent to him".
The Congress leaders, however, did not specify if keeping Thakor away was a conscious decision taken in view of the resentment among Biharis against assault on migrant workers in Gujarat for which an organization run by the MLA is being blamed.
"It is the BJP government in Gujarat which is responsible for the violence against people from the Hindi belt. The BJP has been trying to deflect public attention from its own failure by dragging the name of Alpesh Thakor. Even if he is guilty, who has stopped the Gujarat government from taking any action? they said.
Replying to a query, they said the Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) is intact in Bihar and it will only grow stronger in the days to come.
"There is going to be no major problem over the issue of seat-sharing. These things get decided when elections are announced. The important thing is all our alliance partners are firmly with us in our fight against communal forces represented by the BJP," they said.