AAP’s Iliyas Azmi returns Lakhimpur ticket

In another major blow to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), member of the party’s National Executive and Political Affairs Committee Iliyas Azmi returned his ticket from Lakhimpur Kheri, saying that he had all along expressed a desire to contest from Lucknow.

The development is a major setback for the party, as Azmi is seen as an influential leader in Uttar Pradesh and is one of the party’s Muslim faces.

In fact, during his three day roadshow through Uttar Pradesh, which culminated in the rally at Kanpur where the AAP first cemented its intention to contest against Narendra Modi, it was at a institution run by Azmi that Kejriwal spent the night at Hardoi.

Azmi, who is a two time MP from the BSP in the past, said: “All along I had said that I wanted to contest from Lucknow. Lakhimpur Kheri is a very big constituency which I would not be able to manage because of my age. Further, the last elections when I contested from Lakhimpur Kheri, I lost. They want to give the Lucknow ticket to someone new while I have nurtured this party from the beginning with my sweat and blood.

Therefore I am returning my ticket and cannot contest the elections.”
The Aam Aadmi Party said that they would respect the senior leaders decision, but denied that there were any disagreements on where Azmi should contest from.

Sources in the party said that it is likely that Adarsh Shastri, former Apple executive and the grandson of Lal Bahadur Shastri would stand from Lucknow against Rajnath Singh.

“While he is one of the frontrunners from the seat, we are waiting to see who the other parties consider putting up from Allahabad. Since it was his grandfathers seat, he could stand from either place,” a leader said.

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