New Delhi: Former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Ashutosh on Wednesday accused AAP of using his surname for caste politics, only to clarify just two hours later that he has been misunderstood and he is not part of the ‘anti-AAP brigade’.
“In 23 years of my journalism, no one asked (about) my caste or surname. Was known by my name. But (when) I was introduced to party workers as a Lok Sabha candidate in 2014, my surname was promptly mentioned despite my protest. Later, I was told that my constituency had lot of votes from people of my caste, ” Ashutosh tweeted. Within two hours of his tweet, he claimed that it was ‘misunderstood’.
“My tweet is misunderstood by TV hawks. I am no longer with AAP, not constrained by party discipline and free to express my views. It will be wrong to attribute my words as attack on AAP. It will be gross manipulation of media freedom. Spare me. I not member of anti-AAP brigade,” he tweeted. Citing a “very very personal reason,” the former journalist had quit the party on August 15. Ashutosh had earlier expressed unhappiness over the choice of two of the three AAP nominees to the Rajya Sabha.
He was the AAP candidate from Delhi’s Chandni Chowk constituency in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and finished runner-up to BJP’s Harsh Vardhan. The talk of caste politics comes days after AAP’s candidate for the 2019 Lok Sabha election from the East Delhi, Atishi, dropped her surname ‘Marlena’ ahead of the election campaigning, with sources saying the surname ‘sounded Christian’.
However, the party denied the reports on caste politics. “AAP is the only mainstream party that has the courage to project a woman academic, policymaker, with no previous background in politics,” Akshay Marathe as AAP joint secretary, said in a tweet on Wednesday. “A progressive politician like Atishi who does not use her caste name ‘Singh’ to ask for votes, is being targeted for using only Atishi without ‘Marlena’,” he said. “Our discourse is around education and healthcare, not on identities of caste and religion,” he added.