The Congress is in a major political fix just before the 2019 elections as Alpesh Thakore’s misadventure in inciting a hate campaign against Hindi-speaking migrant labourers from north India after a 14-month-old was raped in north Gujarat’s Sabarkantha district backfired in a big way.

Thakore, who is the Congress’s OBC face in Gujarat -- and who promised to deliver the community to the party in the upcoming polls -- has been caught playing the perfect demagogue on camera.

In September, Thakore had delivered an incendiary speech at Becharaji. “People come from outside and commit crimes here. Conflict is increasing in villages. These kill common people in villages and then flee back after committing crimes. Is our Gujarat for such people?”

“The trucks of such companies (that are employing migrant labourers) will be stopped and their doors too would be broken down. How many of you are in a mood to fight; lest later it comes to such pass that we have to retreat,” the OBC leader added.

Spewing more venom, Thakore said, “Containers and trucks will be stopped and if required their tyres will be slashed. Shrubs come up, but no one can stop us from stopping these shrubs or from cutting them down. Shall we not clip these shrubs? After they dry up, we shall take them to burn them in our hearth. The government has not put any sanctions on cutting down shrubs.”

Ironically, Thakore is also the co-incharge of Bihar for Congress, having been appointed AICC secretary August this year.

Meanwhile, under fire and exposed, Thakore is trying to play a doyen of peace, denying any out-migration from Gujarat. But, his party president Rahul Gandhi said otherwise, attacking the BJP for the exodus of these labourers.

Thakore absolved himself, saying his men were not involved in the attacks on labourers. “These are not my men, not my people. I had told the chief minister, DG, IG etc. From the very first day I have been appealing to maintain peace. It is these people who are trying to foment trouble as there is no such environment in Gujarat. I want to tell Indians that as much as mine, this Gujarat is yours too.”

Gandhi, however, tweeted in Hindi, saying targeting migrant workers in Gujarat was wrong. “There is no terror bigger than poverty. The root cause of violence in Gujarat is closed factories and unemployment. The system and economy, both are in tatters. To target migrants labourers is entirely wrong in this matter. I will keep standing against it completely.”