New Delhi:  Opposition parties in Delhi, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress, hit out at Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), saying that two senior leaders quitting the party underlined a decline in the charisma of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The remarks came after AAP senior leaders Ashish Khetan and Ashutosh quit the party in a span of a week. Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari said the party may “vanish” before the next polls for the state Assembly.

“Arvind Kejriwal is one-time wonder whose charisma is fast losing its sheen among the people of Delhi and the leaders of his own party. It now appears that by the time of next Vidhan Sabha elections in 2020, the Aam Aadmi Party will vanish from the political horizon,” Tiwari said in a statement. It is to be noted here that Khetan had announced his resignation from the party earlier in the day. However, there is no confirmation from the party until now.

“To fulfil his political ambitions, Arvind Kejriwal brought together a rabble of politically ambitious activists most of whom had no political ideology and with the passage of time this gathering converted into a Dangal arena,” the BJP leader alleged in the statement.

The Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) also slammed the AAP’s national convenor. “Within 6 years of forming the party, most of the old guards, founding members of AAP have left. Obviously, something is terribly wrong within the party,” DPCC’s chief spokesperson Sharmistha Mukherjee tweeted.

In a Facebook post, Khetan had said, “Early this year I made my decision to quit active politics after much deliberation and in consultation with family and close friends. However, since both the party and the government were beset with a series of crises, I waited for an opportune time to formalize my decision. I had also informed the party leadership about my decision, on more than one occasion.” He said that his “personal decision” to move away from the party and electoral politics should not be viewed as a reflection on the AAP.

Khetan, an investigative journalist, had joined AAP in 2014.  He had resigned as DDC vice chairman citing “frustration” due to the tussle between the Centre and the AAP-led government. AAP sources claimed Khetan wanted to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from the New Delhi parliamentary seat that he had lost to BJP’s Meenakshi Lekhi in 2014. But his demand was not being accepted by the leadership and he had been upset for a while.

And AAP leader Ashutosh resigned from the party on Wednesday citing ‘personal reasons’. The journalist-turned-politician had contested the 2014 Lok Sabha election from Chandni Chowk on an AAP ticket.

(With PTI inputs)