In a huge setback for the Congress party in Gujarat, former party MLA Alpesh Thakor and his close aide Dhavlsinh Zala have decided to join the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Both the leaders had cross-voted in the Rajya Sabha bypolls held on July 5 and resigned as Congress MLAs. A meeting of the core committee of our Thakor Sena was held in which they gave permission to Alpesh Thakor and me to join the BJP, Dhavlsinh Zala told reporters on Monday after a meeting of the Thakor Sena, an outfit floated by Alpesh. Now, Alpesh Thakor has been authorised to negotiate with BJP leaders and fix a date for our joining that party, he added. Alpesh Thakor (43), however, didnt attend the meeting of the core committee of Thakor Sena in Ahmedabad. Also Read: Congress MLAs Alpesh Thakor, Dhavalsinh Zala resign after cross-voting in Rajya Sabha bypolls A prominent OBC leader in the state, Alpesh shot to fame after the Patel quota agitation in 2015. He had joined the Congress party just ahead of the Gujarat Assembly elections in December 2017 and successfully contested from Radhanpur assembly constituency in Patan district. Zala had won from Bayad in Sabarkantha district. Alpesh fell out with the Congress leadership and quit from all organisational posts before the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year. However, he stayed in the party. He had even met former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and lodged his displeasure over the functioning of the partys state unit. In the just held Rajya Sabha bypolls to the two seats, Alpesh and Zala had voted for BJP candidates S Jaishankar and Jugalji Thakor. Both of them had quit as Congress MLAs just after cross-voting. After resignation as MLA, Alpesh said that he was not happy with the functioning of the partya leadership and accused the grand old party of trying to defame him. I am free from that burden, Alpesh said that ever since he joined Congress, he received nothing but betrayal.