Ashutosh quits AAP for ‘personal reason’

Won’t accept resignation, says Kejriwal.

Updated - August 15, 2018 10:01 pm IST

Published - August 15, 2018 11:06 am IST - NEW DELHI

Ashutosh contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Chandni Chowk constituency.

Ashutosh contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Chandni Chowk constituency.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Ashutosh on Wednesday announced his decision to quit the party citing a “very very personal reason”, but party convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal refused to accept the resignation.

In a tweet, Mr. Ashutosh wrote: “Every journey has an end. My association with AAP which was beautiful/revolutionary has also an end. I have resigned from the PARTY/requested PAC to accept the same. It is purely from a very very personal reason. Thanks to party/all of them who supported me Throughout. Thanks.”

Mr. Kejriwal responded to the tweet, saying, “How can we ever accept ur resignation? No, not in this lifetime.”

Soon after Mr. Ashutosh made the announcement, AAP leaders, including Mr. Kejriwal and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh, publicly appealed to him to reconsider his decision.

AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said the party national convenor and political affairs committee (PAC), of which Mr. Ashutosh had been a member, had urged him to reconsider is resignation.

According to sources, the journalist-turned-politician was considering starting a new media venture.

The television journalist had joined the AAP in January 2014 and contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Chandni Chowk constituency in Delhi.

Earlier this year, when the AAP was deciding on nominations for three Rajya Sabha seats, Mr. Ashutosh’s name was among those considered, according to sources. During deliberations by the PAC, Mr. Ashutosh had disagreed with the selection of Sushil Gupta, a businessman who had been in the Congress till late 2017. With the announcement of AAP national secretary Pankaj Gupta’s name as Chandni Chowk in-charge in June, Mr. Ashutosh was unlikely to be the party’s candidate from the constituency again.

Sources in the party, however, said the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha tickets were not linked to Mr. Ashutosh’s decision to quit. His interest to get out of politics and back into journalism was behind his resignation, a party leader said.

Meanwhile, the Opposition in Delhi hit out at the AAP, citing previous high-profile exits from the party.

“This is a case of rats fleeing a sinking ship. Since the party rose to power, there has been an exodus of leaders. It began with the unceremonious overthrow of Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan,” said Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta.

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