Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has been dealt another significant blow with respect to Ashish Khetan, who, as per sources, is in talks to join the Congress party following his departure from the AAP.
As per Republic TV sources, Khetan is negotiating with the Rahul Gandhi-led party for an election ticket for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Khetan had earlier claimed that the AAP had also offered a ticket to him, but that he was not interested and it was not a material factor in him wanting to exit the party.
However, in a twist, Khetan's talks with the Congress don't seem to have gone down well with the party's current Delhi unit which is led by Ajay Maken. A rift is said to have emerged in the party on Khetan's account.
The Congess hadn't managed to win a single seat in the Delhi Assembly in the elections held in early 2015 as the Aam Aadmi Party had stormed to power with 67 of 70 seats and even the BJP had been humbled, managing to win just three. The BJP had, however, managed to win seven out of seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi in the 2014 elections.
News of Khetan departing the Aam Aadmi Party had been sparked by a tweet he had issued on August 22 in which he announced that he was not involved in party politics at the moment and was only focused on his legal practice. He stated that he had resigned from the DDC (Delhi Dialogue and Development Commission) in April to join the legal profession.
Khetan, a former journalist, then wrote a Facebook post to "clear the air and quell all rumours", in which he said, among other things:
Khetan is the second prominent journalist-turned-politician to attempt to exit the party in the last few weeks. Earlier this month, Ashutosh had also tweeted about his resignation:
However, party chief Arvind Kejriwal attempted to placate him, even writing that he wouldn't accept Ashutosh's resignation in this lifetime: