Two senior AAP leaders in Uttarakhand — Colonel Ajay Kothiyal (retd) who was chief ministerial candidate in 2022 assembly polls and former working president of its state unit Bhoopesh Upadhyay — resigned from the party on Wednesday. Both the leaders tendered their resignations separately to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
The former army officer announced his decision to quit the party on Twitter, posting a soft copy of his resignation letter on the microblogging site. The AAP had suffered a rout at the hustings with Kothiyal losing his deposit from the Gangotri assembly seat.
“I have been a member of the Aam Aadmi Party from April 19, 2021 to May 18, 2022. Keeping the feelings of ex-soldiers, ex para-military personnel, the elders, women, youths and the intellectuals, I am sending you my resignation on May 18,” Col Kothiyal said in his letter addressed to Kejriwal. However, Upadhyay, who had joined the party as a member on August 24, 2021, attributed his resignation to his disillusionment with the party’s ideology. “After becoming the working president of AAP, I realised it was far removed from the ideology and working style it professes, ” Upadhyay said in his letter to Kejriwal.
He also described the party’s present in-charge and co-in-charge for Uttarakhand as “imposed” on the party and accused them of running it like the “agents of East India Company” to achieve their own end. Kothiyal is said to have been unhappy with the way he was being treated by the party post his electoral defeat. He had not been invited to a party meeting held in New Delhi recently to analyse its performance in Uttarakhand.
AAP leader Jost Singh Bisht, who broke off his long ties with the Congress recently to join the Kejriwal-led party, said Col Kothiyal’s decision to quit the party was personal. “He (Kothiyal) was among the senior leaders of the party. His decision to resign is personal as he has mentioned no reasons for it. Our good wishes for him for a bright future,” said Bisht, who is coordinator of the state unit of AAP.
Announcing the name of Kothiyal for his party’s chief ministerial candidate in August last year, Kejriwal had then said the decision to pick the former army officer as the party’s CM face was based on the feedback received from people of the state. The AAP had big plans for Uttarakhand as it fielded candidates on all the 70 assembly seats in the state and promised a slew of freebies to woo voters. However, the party could not open its account in the state.