AAP’s Ilyas Azmi refuses to fight from Lakhmipur Kheri

Miffed at not being handed the Lucknow Lok Sabha ticket, AAP founder-member Ilyas Azmi has refused to contest the upcoming elections from Lakhmipur Kheri, the seat where he has been fielded by the party.

“I had initially asked the party to allot me the Lucknow seat and we had discussed the same in the Political Affairs Committee (PAC). I had cited health reasons and asked the party to give me a smaller constituency,” Azmi said.

Although AAP is yet to announce the candidate for Lucknow, sources said that the party has decided to field Adarsh Shastri, grandson of former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, from the seat.

Attacking the party over the decision, Azmi said, “I have built the party with my sweat and blood, but the ticket is being given to those who have recently joined the party. I decide on other candidates’ seats (as a member of PAC), but cannot decide on my own. “Had Arvind (Kejriwal) or Prashant Bhushan contested from Lucknow, I would have happily accepted the decision.”

Former BSP member Azmi, a two-time MP, had lost from the Lakhmipur Kheri seat in 2009. He had quit BSP in 2010 over the issue of corruption. “I will say nothing that would harm the party and neither would I resign as that would have a negative impact during
elections,” he said. When contacted, AAP spokesperson Dilip Pandey said that the party was not aware of Azmi’s stand.