Days after he quit the AAP, former journalist Ashutosh claimed the party forced him to use his surname during the 2014 general elections, which he contested from Chandni Chowk. Ashutosh made the statement on Twitter, a day after AAP’s east Delhi Lok Sabha probable Atishi Marlena said she had decided not to use her second name — derived from Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin — in the run-up to the polls. Sources close to her had cited a “whisper campaign” by the opposition to brand her as a foreigner and a Christian.
Ashutosh’s tweet read: “In 23 years of my journalism, no one asked my caste, surname… But as I was introduced to party workers as Lok Sabha candidate in 2014 my surname was promptly mentioned despite my protest. Later I was told — how else will you win sir? There are a lot of votes from your caste here.”
Two hours later came another tweet: “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… Spare me. I not member of anti-AAP brigade.”
When contacted, he only said: “I am not in the party. Period.” AAP’s Delhi convenor Gopal Rai, meanwhile, said: “This is his personal matter. The party does not decide names of people. The Political Affairs Committee did not take any such decision.”