NEW DELHI: Senior Aam Aadmi Party leader Ashutosh quit the party today, citing a “very, very personal reason”. The 53-year-old had left journalism to join AAP in 2014. Party chief Arvind Kejriwal, however, rejected his move, tweeting: “How can we ever accept your resignation? Not in this lifetime.” Ashutosh’s move came months after a rift within the party over Delhi’s three Rajya Sabha seats.
A second tweet read: “To media friends. Please respect my privacy. I won’t be giving any bite of any kind. Please cooperate.”
Sources close to Ashutosh said that it was not a sudden decision. “It was a long-thought decision,” a source said.
Senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh tweeted that the party will try to persuade him to take back his decision.
In January, Mr Kejriwal had to look within the party to fill the Rajya Sabha seats after being turned down by seven eminent professionals. There was a buzz at the time that Ashutosh was being considered for a post.
But the party’s final list — senior leader Sanjay Singh, Delhi-based businessman Sushil Gupta and chartered accountant ND Gupta — had upset several aspirants.
Senior leaders and founder member Kumar Vishwas, who had frequent run-ins with Mr Kejriwal, had quit the party days later, protesting that he was being “punished for speaking the truth.”
Today, with a nod to Independence Day celebrations across the country, he quipped seemingly at Ashutosh: “Congratulations on the freedom.”
Ashutosh contested the Lok Sabha elections from Chandni Chowk constituency, but lost to BJP’s Harsh Vardhan. For the past few months he has been on leave from the party, sources said.