Ashutosh is one of those new age leaders of newly formed Aam Aadmy Party (AAP), who left their lucrative career behind to enter politics after getting influenced by the anti-corruption movement of Anna Hazare. Former Managing Editor of the leading IBN7 news channel (TV18 group), Ashutosh is now senior leader and spokesperson of AAP.
Early life of Ashutosh
Born in the year 1965 in Mirzapur of Uttar Pradesh, Ashutosh is a Science graduate from Allahabad University. His father was an income tax officer. After completing his graduation, Ashutosh joined Jawahar Lal Nehru University and completed his M.A. in Philosophy and International Studies and further earned an M.Phil degree in Soviet Studies.
He suddenly came into limelight when the people witnessed his emotional outburst live on the news channel, while he was anchoring and narrating the news story on protests that had taken place in the capital after Nirbhaya’s gang rape in a moving bus. While reading that news he couldn't control his emotions and started crying live on the television news show. Also by then rumour mills had started rolling that he might be very soon going to join AAP, leaving everything aside.
Ashutosh had come to the Capital for his further studies and to prepare for Civil Services, but soon he came in contact with noted Hindi writer/journalist Mrinal Pande and joined Hindustan, the leading Hindi daily. Later he entered the world of electronic media by joining Aaj Tak, the prominent Hindi News channel and worked there as an anchor for more than ten years, rising from a correspondent to the post of Executive Producer in that channel. From Aaj Tak he moved to IBN7 to lead its team. As a prime time news anchor, he has been expert in news management in his career in TV journalism. During his journalistic career, he widely covered elections and the Kashmir issue, among several issues.
His journalistic career was also recognised by a UN Scholarship in the year 1997. Known as Dag Hammarskjold UN Scholarship, it is given every year to four journalists from over 100 third world countries.
Political Career of Ashutosh
The seeds of a political foray had germinated in his mind when he dropped his last name Gupta (he was born as Ashutosh Gupta) during the Mandal Commission agitation in 1990 in order to dissociate himself from his caste identity in public life.
Also, he shot to prominence in 1996, when Kanshi Ram, the veteran Bahujan Samajwadi Party founder, slapped him for his insistence on demanding a comment. Kanshi Ram was forcing journalists gathered outside his house to leave, including Ashutosh who stood firmly in front of him.
Committed to the common man, Ashutosh did not think twice to leave the glittering world of television journalism to become a part of the mass movement against corruption kick-started by Anna Hazare. Also, in his last few years of his reportage, impact of Anna’s influence started becoming visible and for that he got criticised too.
According to Ashutosh, a journalist/editor is required to be fair, balanced and neutral, but as a human being, he/she is bound to feel strongly about certain issues that concern people at large. To him, it is most important to cleanse India of corruption, if we really want to become a super power.
Ashutosh joined the anti-corruption crusade of Anna Hazare heart and soul and became an active supporter of his Jan Lokpal movement. He also wrote a book on Jan Lokpal Movement titled as Anna - 13 Days That Awakened India.
It was in January 2014 that Ashutosh joined AAP, launched by Arvind Kejriwal, a key figure of the Jan Lokpal movement. He also contested 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Chandni Chowk constituency of Delhi on a ticket of AAP, but lost to Harsh Vardhan of BJP. Still, he was able to garner 31 per cent vote in that constituency and stood second after Vardhan, pushing Kapil Sibbal of the Congress to the third position.
The Delhi Legislative Assembly Elections, likely to be held in February 2015, will be an acid test in Ashutosh’s political innings.
Last Updated on Feb 18, 2020