AAP loses face in Uttarakhand: After Ajay Kothiyal, state chief Deepak Bali joins BJP

Days after losing its Uttarakhand CM candidate at the hands of the BJP, Deepak Bali — the Aam Aadmi Party’s state unit president — also joined hands with the saffron party. Bali joined the BJP in the presence of Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami and ruling party’s state president Madan Kaushik on Tuesday. 

AAP’s CM candidate for the recent Uttarakhand Assembly elections, Colonel Ajay Kothiyal (Retd), and former state working president Bhupesh Upadhyay had earlier quit and joined the BJP last month, along with several other AAP members. 

Bali quit the AAP on Monday and posted his resignation letter on Twitter, in which he cited the work culture of the Arvind Kejriwal-led party for his decision to leave. 

“Before starting my political career, I worked in social and business life. After joining AAP, I fulfilled all duties given to me. Today I am joining the BJP. Young and visionary Pushkar Singh Dhami has the leadership of the state and the way he took decisions in his first tenure, I used to feel we will not be able to stop BJP. The way he registered a victory in Champawat by-election by getting over 92 percent votes, there is nothing left to say,” Bali wrote in his resignation letter.

“The way Dhami-ji is working for the welfare of the state, it was bothering me that I will do politics of opposing [him] just because I am in a different political party. As far as AAP is concerned, I was disheartened by an incident four days ago. The video of an incident in Pakistan, where a Hindu woman was pulled by the hair and a Hanuman temple was demolished, went viral. The silence of AAP’s top leadership troubled me. And then I realised that just taking the name of nationalism isn’t enough,” he added.

Stating that the BJP will “gain strength” with Bali joining the party, Dhami claimed that AAP stands “all clear” from Uttarakhand now.

Dhami welcomed Bali to BJP and said that he has been known as a bright student leader, a successful businessman, and a leader. “Even though he was in AAP, nationalism was always in his ideology. He saw the real face of AAP from inside. Saddened by that, he said goodbye to AAP and joined BJP after being inspired by the policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”

The mass exodus of top leaders has left the party in a crisis in Uttarakhand, where it failed to secure a single seat in the single in the recently concluded assembly polls and secured only 3.31 per cent votes. Even the party’s CM candidate, Kothiyal, who contested from Gangotri seat, got only 6,161 votes, trailing BJP candidate Suresh Singh Chauhan (29,619 votes) and Congress’s Vijaypal Singh Sajwan (21, 590 votes).

With Kothiyal and Bali leaving the party along with others, the AAP neither has a public face nor a unit chief and faces an uphill task of reestablishing itself.

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