AAP suffers major blow; Shazia Ilmi, Captain Gopinath quit, slam Arvind Kejriwal

In what can bring more trouble to the already-sulked Aam Aadmi Party after its disastrous performance in the Lok Sabha polls, two of its prominent leaders Shazia Ilmi and Captain Gopinath on Saturday resigned from the party.

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: In what could spell more trouble for the Aam Aadmi Party whose chief is in jail, one of its founding members, Shazia Ilmi, and another leader, Captain Gopinath, quit on Saturday.

While announcing her resignation, Ilmi told reporters today that there was a lack of democracy within the party.

"There is lack of inner party democracy within the Aam Aadmi Party. The party which talks about `Swaraj` has failed to apply it within the party," Ilmi said at a press conference here.

Accusing the party of marginalising her, Ilmi said: "We fight against cronyism but there is a crony clique that runs AAP, who takes the decisions and we are told about it later."

She also clarified that her resignation from the party is not due to the fact that she was asked to contest the Lok Sabha election from Ghaziabad, from where she lost.

She also said the party has lost its direction and needs to introspect and go beyond agitations.

"I am not for jail bharo politics. There is a need to reinvent the AAP, go beyond agitation," Ilmi said while taking a potshot at AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal, who is in judicial custody for refusing to pay bail amount in a defamation case. The journalist-turned-politician, who contested Lok Sabha elections from Ghaziabad constituency, even lost her security deposit as she could get just 89,125 votes.

Meanwhile, GR Gopinath, the pioneer of low-cost air travel in India, also quit Aam Admi Party, which is reeling under Lok Sabha poll debacle, citing growing differences with the leadership and its ways and criticised Arvind Kejriwal`s recent actions.
Gopinath, who joined AAP in January this year, stressed that he was a great admirer of Anna Hazare and Kejriwal and continues to be so but disagreed with some of the decisions of of the AAP chief saying a head of a party cannot indulge in "shoot and scoot politics".

In a communication to AAP`s Karnataka Convenor Prithvi Reddy, he said, "I would like to resign from the membership of the Aam Admi Party with immediate effect because of increasing differences with the party leadership and its ways."

Gopinath said he had "expressed most of my views also in the media including today" and wished "the party well in its future endeavours".

When contacted, Gopinath confirmed the development over phone from Toulouse in France where the headquarters of aircraft manufacturing major, Airbus, is located.

He disagreed with Kejriwal on his refusal to furnish a bail bond in the defamation case filed against him by BJP leader Nitin Gadkari.

Gopinath said it could not be compared to the stand taken by Hazare, who was sent to judicial custody in August 2011 following his arrest during Janlokpal Bill agitation after he refused to sign a personal bond.

Gopinath had founded the first low-cost carrier Air Deccan in 2003, which was taken over by Vijay Mallya and named `Kingfisher Red` that has now closed down.

In a blog titled `Has Kejriwal lost his way` today, he criticised the functioning of AAP chief.

He said when Kejriwal took on Robert Vadra on corruption charges, "the BJP loved it and also went in for the kill against the Congress", adding that Kejriwal then took on Nitin Gadkari."Kejriwal was brazen and broke that rule. He went for the jugular. What was rumoured in whispers, he stood up to in public, which made him the darling of the people and the media.... Kejriwal did not stop there. He made allegations against other high and mighty of the land," the blog said.

"It`s one thing to gossip about it in private but when one holds a responsible position as head of a political party, one has to take responsibility and not, as some one described it, indulge in shoot and scoot politics, denigrating people`s reputation, however credible the rumours may seem and however tempting the chance to score brownie points or capture media attention and public sympathy as a crusader against corruption," Gopinath said in the blog.
Referring to the defamation case, he said Kejriwal committed a mistake by not appearing in court.

"His lawyers argued he was busy with elections and pleaded for time. That was the first mistake. If one has time to accuse some one, then one must also find the time to appear in court and defend oneself and not only present evidence to prove the allegations but also press charges for prosecution," he said.

Noting that Kejriwal refused to furnish a bail bond pleading that he had not committed any crime as his action was political, he termed it as "convoluted logic".

"His actions of naming high profile politicians or businessmen may have a worthy political cause of exposing corruption in government and crony capitalism, but it cannot by any stretch of imagination be equated with political activism," he said.

Gopinath had joined the party in January stating that "Kejriwal`s AAP is seen transforming that hope of Anna`s fight against corruption into action."

He had however openly slammed the decision of the AAP government in Delhi to reject FDI in retail, saying the party is "running in danger" of being branded like other parties of resorting to cheap and populist measures.

Delhi BJP chief and the newly-elected MP from Chandni Chowk, Dr Harsh Vardhan, took a jibe, saying that any AAP member, who comes to know even 10 percent of the party`s real face, will quit.

Ashwini Upadhyay, who was expelled by the AAP last month due to "anti-party activities", meanwhile, said soon no one will be left in the party except Kejriwal, Sisodia,Yogendra Yadav, Sanjay Singh and their sycophants.

(With Agency inputs)

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