Down The Hill Goes AAP: Shazia And Capt Gopinath Leave Kejriwal

Aam Aadmi Party’s aam aurat, founder member, Shazia Ilmi, resigned from membership and all the party posts today. Reason was the same old ‘˜lack of internal democracy’…

Aam Aadmi Party’s aam aurat, founder member, Shazia Ilmi, resigned from membership and all the party posts today. Reason was the same old ‘lack of internal democracy’ and ‘intolerance towards constructive criticism’ by the senior party leaders due to which many have left AAP by now.

Speculations of Ilmi leaving the party were doing rounds since yesterday. Ilmi announced her decision formally by arranging a press meet where she read her resignation letter out.

“I am leaving AAP because of the absence of inner party democracy in a party which talks of swaraj. The party is being run by a coterie which takes impulsive decisions and we get to learn about them later,” she told reporters in the press meet. However, she refrained from naming the people who “do not let party members and volunteers meet party chief Arvind Kejriwal.

Attacking these AAP leaders, who are considered close to Kejriwal, she further said, “We fight against cronyism but we have a crony clique which runs the party.”

Criticising AAP’s political moves, Ilmi said that it was “not enough to just name corporates and politicians” as party must do all to provide proof. She was in particular in disagreement with the current conduct of Kejriwal in Nitin Gadkari defamation case due to which he is currently under judicial custody in Tihar Jail.

“It’s true that sensationalism may have helped us, but it has become like law of diminishing returns. The idea of dharnas is good but it does not work all the time. The party seems to be directionless. AAP needs to reinvent itself. We need to do more than just agitations and protests,” she added.

Showing her concerns for the future of the party which has become “directionless” in her own words, Ilmi said, “Arvind has constantly shot down the messenger. I have been systematically marginalised for raising a voice of dissent. I’m no longer part of the decision making process. Arvind should not be in jail but with party cadres.”

Another leader which left the party today is Capt Gopinath, former head of the low cost airline Air Deccan. Gopinath was one of the high-profile names from the corporate world to join AAP during its rise.

Explaining his resignation, Gopinath said that he had differences with how the party had functioned, and that it was Arvind Kejriwal’s decision to not furnish a bail bond in the defamation case filed against him by Nitin Gadkari, that sealed his decision. “I had increasing differences with the AAP and today was the last straw by not giving bond was not proper for me to continue and at the same time criticise the party,” Gopinath said.

But it seems the higher order of the party is still not ready to introspect. Senior leader Yogendra Yadav even made fun of Gopinath by telling the reporters that he “didn’t even know when he (Gopinath) entered the party”. For Ilmi he said that she will be missed and hoped that she will “return home” soon.

The drubbing of AAP in Lok Sabha elections has exposed the fissures within the party quite clearly. AAP members have been leaving the party after Kejriwal decided to resign from Delhi CM post. Vinod Kumar Binny was expelled for his dissent and Tina Sharma had joined him. Many big names are now coming forward speaking openly about the lack of internal democracy in the party. Even volunteers raised their voice against the working of the party in yesterday’s meet.

It is time Kejriwal and his said “coterie” opens their eyes.

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