Ajay Kothiyal, Aam Aadmi Party’s CM face in Uttarakhand, joins BJP

Kothiyal had cited “the feelings of ex-soldiers, ex para-military personnel, the elders, women, youths and the intellectuals” behind his decision to quit the party. 

Kothiyal had cited "the feelings of ex-soldiers, ex para-military personnel, the elders, women, youths and the intellectuals" behind his decision to quit the party. 

In an embarrassment for the Aam Aadmi Party, Ajay Kothiyal, the Aam Aadmi Party’s chief ministerial face in the recently-concluded Uttarakhand Assembly elections, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party today. Kothiyal, who resigned from the membership of AAP on May 18, was formally inducted into the party in the presence of senior party leaders including Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami in Dehradun. 

In his resignation addressed to AAP convener and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Kothiyal had cited “the feelings of ex-soldiers, ex para-military personnel, the elders, women, youths and the intellectuals” behind his decision to quit the party. 

Having stepped into active politics in 2021, Kothiyal was fielded by the AAP from the Gangotri assembly seat in the Uttarakhand elections 2022, but lost. The party, which bet big on Kothiyal and declared him as its CM candidate, also suffered a crushing defeat in the state. The AAP drew a blank in the elections, securing a meager 3.31% vote share.

Reports suggest that Kothiyal’s relations with the party’s central leadership had started going downhill ever since the election results were announced. The AAP, which went on to sweep Punjab, had hoped to establish itself as the third alternative in the state but failed miserably. There were also rumours of Kothiyal’s displeasure with the AAP leadership over the treatment meted out to him following the party’s defeat in the hill state.

Kothiyal’s political debut was preceded by his decision to opt for voluntary retirement from the Indian Army. A Colonel-rank officer, Kothiyal is a recipient of the prestigious Kirti Chakra, Shaurya Chakra and the Vishisht Seva Medal, among others.

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