New Delhi: Former Congress leader Alpesh Thakor, who joined the BJP in July, is among six candidates whose names have been declared by the party for the October 21 bypolls in Gujarat. Another Congress defector Dhavalsinh Zala, who switched over to the BJP with Thakor, too, has been announced as a candidate.

They have been given tickets from Radhanpur and Bayad, from where they resigned as Congress MLAs. The other four candidates are Jivraj Patel (Tharad), Ajmal Thakor (Kheralu), Jagdish Patel (Amraiwadi) and Jignesh Sevak (Lunawada).

The candidates were picked after a Central Parliamentary Board of the party.

It was also decided at the party meet that each of the candidates, while filing their nominations, will be joined by senior leaders of the party. While Gujarat BJP president Jitu Vaghnani, party general secretary KC Patel and state ministers Dilip Thakor and Vasan Ahir will accompany Thakor at his nomination filing, Zala will be accompanied by state ministers Pradeepsinh Jadeja and Ramanlal Patkar along with party vice-president Gordhan Zadafia.

While bypolls for Radhanpur and Bayad were necessitated due to resignations of Thakor and Zala respectively, those for the other four were necessitated as all the incumbents got elected to the Lok Sabha during the general elections held earlier this year.

Thakor, an Other Backward Cast (OBC) leader, joined the Congress just ahead of the 2017 Gujarat Assembly elections in which the party, despite its eventual defeat, gave a tough fight to the ruling BJP which returned to power. He resigned from the party before the Lok Sabha elections, accusing it of ‘sidelining’ people from his community.