Even as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is hoping to reap political benefits in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the party received a jolt in Uttarakhand on Wednesday after its prominent face, Col (retd) Ajay Kothiyal, left the party.
Announcing his resignation on social media, Col Kothiyal mentioned he is leaving the AAP for the sake of youngsters, ex-soldiers and women, among others.
“I joined the AAP on 19th April last year and being a member of the party, I have decided to tender resignation (from the primary membership) after taking into account the feelings of ex-soldiers, ex-para military personnel, youngsters, senior citizens, women and intellectuals,” he declared on social media.
For the AAP, which is expecting to gain in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the neighbouring state of Uttarakhand, Kothiyal’s resignation came as a surprise.
“I have no idea (why Col Kothiyal resigned), I will talk to him,” party’s Uttarakhand in-charge and Delhi MLA Dinesh Mohaniya told News18.
Col Kothiyal was not available for a comment.
Sources suggest he could next work on two options – either floating his political outfit or joining a national party.
Earlier this year, despite launching a high-voltage campaign, the AAP failed to attract voters during the Assembly polls in the hill state.
The AAP could get only 3.31% of votes in the 70 Assembly seats it contested. Chief ministerial face Col Kothiyal forfeited his deposit in the Gangotri seat.
A party needs at least six per cent of the total votes polled to get the status of a regional party. That way AAP could get half of the expected vote share in Uttarakhand.
Now the party is hopeful in two other states – Gujarat and Himachal — which are expected to go to polls later this year or early next year.
A party needs the status of a ‘state party’ in at least four states to claim the status of a national party. After the debacle in Uttarakhand, the party hopes to gain in Himachal Pradesh – another hill state which shares similarities with Uttarakhand.