- Ashutosh, 53, had quit journalism to join AAP in 2014
- My association with AAP was beautiful, revolutionary: Ashutosh
- "It was a long-thought decision," a source said
Senior Aam Aadmi Party leader Ashutosh's resignation from the party on a "very very personal reason" has been rejected, very firmly, by party chief Arvind Kejriwal.
"How can we ever accept your resignation? Not in this lifetime," Mr Kejriwal tweeted, pre-empting the discussion promised by party colleague Gopal Rai. A second tweet said, "Sir, we all love you very much".
Ashutosh, who left journalism to join AAP in 2014, announced his resignation in a tweet."Every journey has an end. My association with AAP which was beautiful/revolutionary has also an end.I have resigned from the PARTY/requested PAC to accept the same. It is purely from a very very personal reason.Thanks to party/all of them who supported me Throughout.Thanks."
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. The leader had taken a sabbatical for the past three months as he was abroad. He had told the party that he needed some time off to write a book, sources said. The 53-year-old is the author of two books.
AAP leader Gopal Rai was the first to respond publicly. A tweet from him read, "Ashutosh's decision is sad. Will discuss the matter together." Senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh tweeted that the party will try to persuade him to withdraw his resignation.
Ashutosh contested the Lok Sabha elections from Chandni Chowk constituency, but lost to BJP's Harsh Vardhan.
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 leader 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, Kumar Vishwas quipped, apparently at Ashutosh: "Congratulations on the freedom".