Ilmi, Gopinath quit: AAP being run by crony clique, Arvind shot messenger

"We fight against cronyism, but we have a crony clique that runs the party and takes impulsive decisions," said Ilmi.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: May 24, 2014 10:11 pm


Shaken by the rout in the Lok Sabha elections and volunteers questioning the leadership for the debacle, the Aam Aadmi Party took another hit Saturday when Shazia Ilmi, one of its most popular faces, walked out of the party protesting “lack of inner-party democracy, perpetuation of sensationalism… and a crony clique who run the party and take impulsive decisions which we learn about later”.

Taking a direct swipe at chief Arvind Kejriwal — he is in jail for refusing a bail bond in a defamation case — Ilmi told reporters: “Are naming some corporate houses and politicians continuously enough… when we became a political party, it needed to evolve and not just assume the garb of agitation… Arvind has shot the messenger.”

She said she had been “systematically marginalised because I offer a voice of dissent and constructive criticism”. Along with Ilmi, Captain G R Gopinath, who pioneered low-cost air travel in the country, also resigned from the party saying Kejriwal practised politics of “shoot and scoot”.

Ilmi, who unsuccessfully contested the Delhi assembly elections and the Lok Sabha elections, said: “My decision to leave the party is triggered by a lack of inner-party democracy, specially from a party that constantly talks of Swaraj. We fight against cronyism but we have a crony clique who run the party and take 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 decision-making is unable to follow it personally within the party, then doesn’t it become incumbent to point out the same?”

She said she disagreed with the “perpetuation of sensationalism” and the current “bail-jail imbroglio”: “Granted it may have helped us make our point initially but to continue to use it as a norm defeats the exercise of trust reposed in us by the public… One strongly believes that instead of wasting our collective energy on this bail-jail imbroglio, Arvind should actually be spending time with cadres, candidates, volunteers, critics.”

Asked if she would ever reconsider her decision to quit, she said: “If the party believes I can play a role, and am given a relevant role, then perhaps I will return.” When his comments were sought, AAP leader Yogendra Yadav said: “We are saddened by her decision to quit and hope that she will reconsider, since she also said that she wishes us well, and could return if her views are given relevance. We tried to convince her, but could not succeed. She was upset for the past couple of days. She had even placed her grievances before us at the national executive meeting. She wrote letters and spoke to some of the party members.”

Earlier in the day, AAP leaders Vandana Kumari and Somnath Bharti met Ilmi at her residence, and despite a claim from Bharti that the matter had been resolved, Ilmi went on to announce her resignation in the afternoon.

It is learnt that the party leadership has had several problems with Ilmi recently and things came to breaking point after she asked to be included in the party political affairs committee. She mentioned this on Saturday when she said, “I have spoken within the party about a woman being part of the PAC but nothing happened.”

The relationship between Ilmi and other party leaders were strained after a series of controversies including a video in which she appeared to be asking Muslims to be “communal” during elections — the video went viral on social media. Captain Gopinath, on his part, wrote a letter to AAP Karnataka convenor Prithvi Reddy: “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.”

In a blog entitled, “Has Kejriwal lost his way”, Gopinath wrote: “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.” On Gopinath’s resignation, Yadav said, “I didn’t even know Gopinath had joined AAP.”


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First Published on: May 24, 2014 2:22 pm
  1. B
    May 24, 2014 at 4:53 pm
    Yadav said, “I didn’t even know Gopinath had joined AAP.” - this is like Smrithi Who? Height of arrogance. Even after coming 4th in the consuency he fought for. What would have happened if they had won a few.
    1. I
      May 25, 2014 at 6:13 am
      don't think so . Modi has other plans
      1. A
        May 25, 2014 at 12:32 am
        AAP people are the most ed of this lot
        1. A
          May 25, 2014 at 12:32 am
          every1 from AAP dreamt of becoming overnite celebrities
          1. A
            May 25, 2014 at 12:31 am
            shazia instigated muslims but they voted for better sense than anarchism garbed as agitation and swaraj
            1. A
              anil rana
              May 25, 2014 at 1:18 am
              all opportunists and overambitious people will soon leave to provide tranquility and firmness to aap party
              1. S
                Swaminathan Chandramouli
                May 25, 2014 at 2:57 pm
                AAP's Shazia Ilmi now becomes AAP's enemy
                1. D
                  May 24, 2014 at 10:34 am
                  May join BJP ?
                  1. O
                    May 24, 2014 at 4:59 pm
                    No she won't if she is really against corruption
                    1. J
                      Jayanarayan Kongasseri
                      May 25, 2014 at 3:33 am
                      Congratulations to Ms.Ilmi and Capt Gopinath to stand on their principles.People had great hopes on Mr.Kejriwal and he has proven he is not different than most of the other politicians. Time will judge and will throw him into the dustbin of history.Mr.Kejriwal thought he can hoodwink the wisedom of Indian Electorate.
                      1. K
                        Karan Singh
                        May 24, 2014 at 8:19 pm
                        All these fly by night operators felt that they will be able to take a free ride and land in parliament. BJP spent several years building the party and then only got power. Arvind will also have to slog for number of years in building the party. It takes tremendous efforts to build a political party. His nautanki politics is of no long term use. If you accuse someone then be ready to face the music. Respect the rule of law. Apologies if you can not substantiate your claim of corruption against kapil Sibbal. Kapil Sibbal is victorious here sine he had the guts to file defamation case.
                        1. N
                          May 26, 2014 at 11:06 am
                          Just trying to understand :- Shazia Ilmi... agree it's a mive blow for AAP... But how for Captain Gopinath ? Why Media highlighting people like Gopinath, Teena Sharma as top leaders of AAP while the truth is that none of these ever held any position in AAP or worked for this party even for a single day... Gopinath, Teena Sharma joined AAP from Times Now studio and resigned from Headlines Today studio... Is this in propaa of PAID MEDIA to blame AAP even for nothing ?????
                          1. R
                            Rajesh Mehta
                            May 24, 2014 at 8:29 pm
                            A drama queen now claims that she was marginalised....truth be told,she was always marginal and her electoral defeats confirm that.. an oxymoronic islamist--feminist bites the dust...not a second too soon,one says.
                            1. G
                              May 25, 2014 at 7:28 am
                              Let not Ilmi worry about 'jail-bail imbroglio' and its impact on the party. It is not want of money or the qualms of principles that drive the neta right now the present cirstances jail is more comfortable for him than any other place. Were he outside he would have had to do face a host of issues for which he has no solutions.Jail shelters him from the heat of those issues.By the time he comes out those issues would have ,hopefully,run their course and he would not have to face them.It is not for nothing that parents send you to IITs
                              1. P
                                May 25, 2014 at 2:17 am
                                Illmi and Gopinath getting out is not a big thing.Their contribution to either AAP or Indian politics is nil . However, AAP must now settle down and set up office with responsibilities distributed by the commander. Otherwise, the party is doomed.
                                1. Y
                                  Yaar Rabba
                                  May 24, 2014 at 11:34 pm
                                  Good job you're smart.
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