OBC leader Alpesh Thakore, the Congress legislator from Radhanpur in north Gujarat, on Monday denied rumours that he was preparing to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
"I don't know who is spreading these canards at regular intervals but I want to state clearly that I am in the Congress and shall remain in the Congress," Mr Thakore told reporters, flanked by state Congress president Amit Chavda and Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani.
He asserted: "I had joined the Congress after seeking the opinion of over 20,000 followers and today I am entrusted with national responsibility in the party, including in Bihar."
There had been rumours of Mr Thakore negotiating with the ruling BJP and that he might be accommodated as a Minister in the Vijay Rupani government. Political circles have also been speculating that he may vacate his constituency for former Minister Shankar Chaudhary.
"I never do politics of leaving my constituency for anyone. The question does not arise. And why should I leave my constituency for Chaudhary?"
Mr Thakore was also in the news recently for raising his voice against the Congress supporting the BJP govermnent's move to raise salaries for legislators in the state from Rs 70,000-plus to over Rs 1.16 lakh per month.
He had said that it was improper for the Congress not to have resisted this, especially when the citizens were suffering the burden of high prices.
"At times I may speak in heat of the moment which may look as though I am going against my party but that is never my intent," he said.