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Gopinath, Shazia resign from AAP; criticise Kejriwal


Shazia Ilmi, one of the founder members of the Aam Aadmi Party, shows her resignation letter at a press conference in New Delhi, on Saturday. – PTI

New Delhi/Bangalore: Two key members of Aam Aadmi Party, Shazia Ilmi and G. R. Gopinath, yesterday quit citing differences with Arvind Kejriwal's "jail politics" and lack of "internal democracy" in the party, which is battling internal fissures after the severe electoral drubbing in recent polls. 

The simmering discontent in the fledgling party since its Lok Sabha poll debacle came to the fore as Ilmi, one of the founder members, announced her resignation from all party posts, claiming that a "crony clique" around Kejriwal was calling the shots. 

While resigning from AAP, Gopinath, pioneer of low-cost air travel in India who joined the party in January, targeted Kejriwal saying a head of a party cannot indulge in "shoot and scoot politics" and questioned his refusal to furnish a bail bond in the defamation case filed against him by BJP leader Nitin Gadkari. 

At a press conference in Delhi, Ilmi - who had lost the Lok Sabha polls from Ghaziabad - said, "After much thought and deliberation I have decided to give up my membership of AAP and resign from all positions within the party. 

"My decision to leave the party is triggered by the lack of inner-party democracy, especially from a party that constantly talks of Swaraj (where everyone has a say in decision making)," she said. 

Ilmi clarified that she is not joining any other party as of now. 

'Jail politics'
She also disapproved of Kejriwal's "jail politics" and party's ways of holding dharnas. 

"One strongly believes that instead of wasting our collective energy in the bail-jail imbroglio Arvind (Kejriwal) should have taken the bond, gone back to people, met our candidates and people there," she said.  In a communication to AAP's Karnataka Convenor Prithvi Reddy, Gopinath said, "I would like to resign from the membership of the Aam Aadmi Party with immediate effect because of increasing differences with the party leadership and its ways." 

When contacted, Gopinath confirmed the development over phone from Toulouse in France. 

Sources in AAP said a section in the party was unhappy about the way it is being run. They questioned various decisions like selection of candidates for Lok Sabha polls and "lack of communication" between the leadership and the second-rung leaders as well as the volunteers.

Earlier, former diplomat Madhu Bhaduri had quit AAP.  The party had sacked Laxmi Nagar MLA Vinod Kumar Binny in January and national council member Ashwini Upadhya in April.

Attacking Kejriwal and some other AAP leaders Ilmi said, "We fight against cronyism but we have a crony clique which runs the party and takes impulsive decisions which we learn about later. I find it amazing that we cannot follow the principles of Swaraj within our own party.

"When a brilliant person like Arvind who espoused the concept of Swaraj of collective making is unable to follow it personally within the party, then doesn't it become incumbent to point out the same," she said. 
Ilmi also said there was a need to "re-invent the party".

"The perpetuation of sensationalism may have helped us to make our point initially, but continue to use it as a norm defeats the exercise of trust reposed in us by the public.

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