AAP's Saurabh Bharadwaj says resignations of Ashutosh, Ashish Khetan will have little impact on party's future plans

New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Thursday maintained that it was not a bad time for it and the exit of two senior leaders within a week would have little impact on its future plans, including the Lok Sabha election in 2019.

Party spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj said AAP is an "unconventional party" of middle-class professionals. He said these professionals have their liabilities and interests that they seek to pursue.

His comments reflected the party coming to terms with the resignation of senior leaders Ashutosh and Ashish Khetan.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

"They belonged to middle-class background and quit very good careers to join the party. Not everybody has got big bank balance to pursue a political career. Now, they are going back to their professional life," Bhardwaj said.

The party spokesperson, however, left open the possibility the two leaders might return "after a sustainable model is developed", apparently referring to developing an alternative source of income to continue in political life.

Khetan, who quit active politics and AAP, had expressed his wish to practice law and also focus on writing, amid reports he was upset with the party over denial of a ticket for the next Lok Sabha election from New Delhi constituency.

Bhardwaj, however, denied the reports, saying AAP offered him to contest the Lok Sabha election but he declined as it would have further entrenched him the world of politics.

Ashutosh, who was a prominent electronic media journalist before joining AAP, is also planning to rejoin his old profession.

Bhardwaj, who was an engineer before joining AAP and becoming MLA from Greater Kailash, said "people like us are able to survive in politics because we get some minimum salary. Needs of others could have been made if we were a conventional party. (sic)"

The resignations of Ashutosh and Khetan hit the party amid rebellion by a group of AAP legislators led by Sukhpal Singh Khaira in Punjab, which is being considered by AAP observers as a challenge before the Lok Sabha election.

Bhardwaj downplayed the resignations and unrest among Punjab MLAs, saying AAP was not new to such situations.

"There has been a trend with us. People come and go but we go from strength to strength. It's not a bad time for the party," said Bhardwaj.

Another AAP leader on the condition of anonymity contended that the development was a "personal setback" for every leader in the party and would have a "politically negative impact" on it.

"This is not just two senior leaders leaving the party, it's also about perception of the party volunteers. It can not be said that it will have no effect on the party," he said.

AAP leaders, however, claimed it was a good thing that both the leaders parted their ways sans "acrimony and bitterness", which is not the case with some other sidelined party leaders who keep attacking the leadership with which they have standing differences, from time to time.


Updated Date: Aug 23, 2018 21:18 PM

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