Ashish Khetan to quit AAP? A look at leaders who gave a blow to the party

New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party is facing fresh trouble as its top brass are distancing themselves from active party work. Latest to detach from the party is journalist-turned-politician Ashish Khetan. The move by Khetan stunned everyone in the party as his decision came just a few days after Ashutosh, another senior journalist turned politician announced his exit.

Reacting to reports that he had followed the footsteps of Ashutosh to quit AAP, Khetan tweeted, “I am completely focused on my legal practice and not involved in active politics at the moment. Rest is all extrapolation.”

Kehtan’s tweet was in response to a journalist’s Twitter post stating that he too had left the party. In his follow-up tweet, Khetan wrote, “I had resigned from DDC in April, to join the legal profession. That is all. Not interested in rumours.”

Both Ashutosh and Khetan were active journalists before they joined the Kejriwal’s party. Khetan, a former investigative journalist, has recently started his new career as a lawyer in Delhi.

While AAP still maintains that all is well, the party, which emerged out of anti-corruption movement, has lost most of its founding members. Here is the list of key people associated with India Against Corruption movement (IAC) and the Aam Aadmi Party who have distanced themselves from the party :

Anna Hazare

Social activist Anna Hazare spearheaded India Against Corruption (IAC), an anti-corruption movement, which was particularly prominent during the anti-corruption protests of 2011 and 2012, concerned with the introduction of the Jan Lokpal bill. It primarily sought to mobilise the masses in support of their demands. Divisions amongst key members of the IAC’s core committee eventually led to a split within the movement – Arvind Kejriwal left to form the Aam Aadmi Party, while Anna Hazare left to form Jantantra Morcha. Hazare was never a part of the AAP but was important in building a momentum for the party.

Yogendra Yadav

In 2011, Yadav joined other activists in nationwide anti-corruption protests and later joined the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Yadav served as a member of the National Executive of the party. Yadav contested the 2014 Indian general elections from Gurgaon constituency as an AAP candidate, came fourth and lost his deposit. In March 2015, Yadav was voted out of AAP’s Political Affairs Committee (PAC) and subsequently, he was expelled from the party’s National Executive for alleged “anti-party activities”. In April, he was expelled from the party. Yadav denied being involved in anti-party activities and stated that he was victimised for challenging “dictatorial ways” of party chief Arvind Kejriwal. Together with Prashant Bhushan, Anand Kumar (sociologist) and Ajit Jha, Yadav has formed a new political organisation called Swaraj India.

Prashant Bhushan

Both Prashant and his father Shanti Bhushan were part of IAC. Senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan too was a founding member of the AAP. He also became a part of PAC, the party’s highest decision-making body. In March 2015, he was expelled along with Yadav for his alleged ‘anti-party activity’. He had accused party chief Arvind Kejriwal of autocratic behaviour and corruption in the distribution of tickets for Delhi assembly polls.

Kumar Vishwas

Another founding member of the AAP, he developed differences with Kejriwal sometime back. He was asked by the party not to campaign for the Punjab assembly elections. He was removed from PAC and stripped of Rajasthan in-charge post. Eventually, he was brought back to PAC but the tension has not eased yet. He is reportedly unhappy for not getting nominated to the Rajya Sabha and never lets go of any opportunity to take a dig at Kejriwal. He is still a part of the party.

Mayank Gandhi

A founding member, Gandhi was also a member of the National Executive of the AAP. He was heading the Maharashtra unit of the party, which was arbitrarily disbanded in 2015 over differences with Kejriwal. Eventually he quit the party.

Anand Kumar

The former JNU professor was a member of the National Executive of the AAP. He was expelled from the party in 2015 for alleged anti-party activities. He had contested 2014 Lok Sabha polls from Delhi but lost to BJP’s Manoj Tiwari. He had accused the party’s leadership of indulging in corrupt practices. He was expelled from the party because of anti-party activities along with Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan.

Kapil Mishra

He was the youngest minister in Kejriwal’s cabinet and was associated with the founding members since the anti-corruption movement. An MLA from Delhi’s Karawal Nagar constituency, Mishra was in-charge of tourism, Gurudwara elections and art, culture and languages, apart from water. Mishra was booted out after he accused chief minister Arvind Kejriwal of being involved in corrupt activities.

Shazia Ilmi

Considered to be one of the most erudite leaders of AAP, this journalist-turned-politician ran into several controversies in her brief stint with the AAP. She was the TV face of AAP, but never quite gelled with other party leaders. She finally left the party in May 2014, alleging that most decisions were being taken by a select few, not keeping other leaders of the AAP in confidence. She said the party has deviated from its core issues. Ilmi said the “lack of inner democracy” triggered her resignation.

Captain Gopinath

Captain Gopinath, a prominent face of AAP, also the pioneer in the low-cost airline sector left AAP shortly after the Lok Sabha elections, giving a huge jolt to the party. He left the party as he felt the Kejriwal-led AAP had lost focus. However, he said that he still has a lot of respect for the anti-corruption crusader.

Madhu Bhaduri

Former diplomat, she quit the AAP after the controversial incident at Khirki extension. She said she was displeased with the way the party treated women.

Medha Patkar

She quit the party because of the infighting that saw two founder members Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav being voted out of the PAC. The social worker also commented on Kejriwal, saying he shouldn’t have gone into politics.

Anjali Damania

Damania, an AAP leader from Maharashtra, resigned from the party after a TV channel aired a sting of party convenor Kejriwal allegedly trying to buy out Congress MLAs last year to form the government in Delhi. She said she backed Kejriwal for his principles not horse-trading.

Ashwini Upadhyay

Another senior leader of the AAP, he was expelled for anti-party behaviour. He alleged the party was in a secret alliance with Congress and the dubious donations Manish Sisodia’s NGO got.

Ashok Agarwal

He was a member of the national executive of AAP. He quit the party claiming it had become directionless and functioned like a private limited company.