Journalist-turned-politician Ashutosh on Wednesday announced his resignation from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) led by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The author of 'Anna: 13 Days That Awakened India' was reportedly upset with Kejriwal’s decision to not consider his name for the Rajya Sabha seat. Ashutosh, however, cited “personal” reasons behind the sudden move to end his association with the AAP.
After a 23-year-long stint in television journalism, Ashutosh joined the AAP in 2014. Since then he was seen among the loyalists of Kejriwal. However, things changed when the party announced Sanjay Singh, Sushil Gupta and N D Gupta as its Rajya Sabha nominees.
Ashutosh and another top AAP leader Kumar Vishwas, who were angling for Rajya Sabha seats, were said to be unhappy with Kejriwal's decision. While Kumar openly revolted against AAP chief Kejriwal, Ashutosh went into incognito mode and remained silent until his announcement to quit the party today.
Ever since the AAP came to power in Delhi with a thumping majority, the party has been facing controversies in the form of internal rifts, clash of ideas, or blame-game.
The political revolt in the AAP reached its climax in April 2015 when Kejriwal expelled senior party leaders Yogendra Yadav, Prashant Bhushan, Anand Kumar and Ajit Jha for allegedly indulging in anti-party activities.
The four expelled leaders, however, claimed that the party had shifted its focus from its ideals and Kejriwal and “his coterie” were solely running the party.
Before this, another founding member of the party, Shazia Ilmi, had also quit the party citing “lack of inner party democracy”. She had also said that Kejriwal was “guided by an inner coterie which does not allow democracy within the party”.
In the same year and month, another AAP leader and one of its National Executive member Ashok Agarwal had also resigned from all party posts. He had also cited similar reasons and said the party had become “directionless” and functioned like a “private limited company”.
This didn't stop there and the party suspended two of its four MPs – Dharamvir Gandhi from Patiala and Harinder Singh Khalsa from Fatehgarh Sahib – for indulging in “anti-party activities”. They had accused Kejriwal of “dumping old faces every few months and then shopping for new ones”.
The resignation of Ashutosh ahead of the Rajasthan Assembly elections, where the party aims to contest all seats and the 2019 general elections, would increase the woes for Kejriwal, who is already facing a critical situation in governance with both the ruling BJP and the Opposition Congress boycotting his party at all possible fronts.