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AAP’s Uttarakhand CM face Col Ajay Kothiyal joins BJP, calls it ‘mid-course correction’

Ajay Kothiyal

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)’s chief ministerial face within the latest Uttarakhand Assembly polls, Colonel Ajay Kothiyal (retired) Tuesday joined the BJP at its state celebration headquarters in Dehradun within the presence of CM Pushkar Singh Dhami. He had give up the AAP six days in the past.

Joining the BJP together with many state AAP members together with its ex-working president Bhupesh Upadhyay, Kothiyal informed a press convention that his move to affix the AAP was a “wrong emotional decision”, which he has rectified, he mentioned, by becoming a member of the saffron celebration.

“When I was with the AAP or when I worked for the renovation of Kedarnath Dham, I was never in front of so many cameras. I am a little hesitant, but I can say that there is peace in my heart. We are all human and sometimes we make a decision emotionally. Sometimes those decisions are right, but sometimes they turn out to be wrong. If we realise mid-course that we have made a wrong decision, we should make a correction and that is the wise thing to do,” he mentioned.

On April 19 final 12 months, the AAP supremo and Delhi CM, Arvind Kejriwal, had declared Kothiyal because the celebration’s CM candidate for the February 2022 Uttarakhand Assembly polls. Kejriwal had then mentioned that Kothiyal served within the Indian Army and fought towards terrorists, Pakistan, and enemies of the nation, including, “He still has two bullets in his body. He fought against terror and guarded the country’s frontiers when politicians were busy looting Uttarakhand.”

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The AAP nevertheless did not win a single seat within the polls, coming fourth with simply 3.31 per cent votes behind the BJP (44.33 per cent), Congress (37.91 per cent) and BSP (4.82 per cent). Kothiyal himself misplaced his deposit from the Gangotri constituency, garnering simply 6161 votes as towards the successful BJP candidate Suresh Singh Chauhan’s 29,619 votes and the Congress nominee Vijaypal Singh Sajwan’s 21,590 votes.

Kothiyal, 53, claimed he favored the AAP’s “working culture” initially, however quickly realised it will not serve Uttarakhand’s welfare. He mentioned CM Dhami made him “feel comfortable” and welcomed him.

Dhami mentioned he welcomed into the BJP fold a soldier who established the AAP in Uttarakhand. “His (Kothiyal’s) behaviour was never according to that party (AAP), and even though we were on the opposite ends, we never made any comments on him… When Col Kothiyal and others left AAP, a campaign has now started from Uttarakhand to remove AAP from the entire country,” he mentioned.

In his resignation letter to Kejriwal that he had tweeted, Kothiyal said, “I have been a member of the Aam Aadmi Party from 19 April 2021 till today, 18 May 2022. Keeping in the mind the feelings of former soldiers, former paramilitary, elders, women, youth and intellectuals, I am sending my resignation from the party membership.”

A mountaineer and philanthropist, Kothiyal was a part of the primary profitable group of the Indian Army, led by Brigadier Krishan Kumar, that efficiently climbed Mount Everest in 2001. The President of India later awarded him Shaurya Chakra for efficiently main a group of seven feminine officers to scale Mount Everest for the second time.

Months earlier than the catastrophe struck Kedarnath valley in 2013, Kothiyal was appointed the pinnacle of Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM) in Uttarakhand. Given its geographical proximity, he was one of many early responders to the Kedarnath catastrophe. He shaped 5 rescue groups of 20 folks every, together with troopers of 109 Engineer Regiment, and rescued round 6,500 vacationers. Later, the state authorities assigned to him the duty of reconstructing the yatra route. His group labored for its reconstruction following which he got here to be referred to as “Bhole ka fauzi”. His belief “Youth Foundation” trains kids from Uttarakhand to affix the Indian military.

Kothiyal began his stint with the Army in 1992 and is finest recognized for his operations in 2001-02 in Kashmir, the place he neutralised 17 terrorists. He had been awarded varied medals together with Kirti Chakra and a particular service medal. He retired from the Army in 2018 as a Colonel.

The Uttarakhand AAP hit out at Kothiyal, with its state organisation coordinator Jot Singh Bisht saying that he validated their suspicion by becoming a member of the ruling celebration. “More than once Col Kothiyal named BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya in his speech today. This shows that there was something going on for a long time. Kothiyal ji failed to give a single reason as to why he left AAP, showing that our party gave him respect. He also named several BJP leaders he had relations with while working in Kedarnath. If that is the case then there is an apparent question as to why he joined AAP. Was it as per his own will or he was sent by the BJP? He should not have joined AAP if he had such a long relationship with BJP leaders,” he mentioned.

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