Shazia blames ‘clique’ surrounding Kejriwal for decision to part ways with party

In a major setback to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), a key founder member Shazia Ilmi quit the party on Saturday citing ‘lack of inner party democracy”.

Capt. G.R Gopinath, who launched the first Indian low-cost carrier, also made an announcement to quit the Aam Aadmi Party.

Addressing a crowded press conference here to announce her resignation, Ilmi, who contested and lost the Delhi Assembly election as well as the recent Lok Sabha election from Ghaziabad, blamed a ‘clique that had encircled Kejriwal’ for her decision to quit.

“Since I believe in airing my views openly and perhaps because I am not part of any clique, I was made to feel marginalised,” said Ilmi, adding that she wanted to resign earlier, but was waiting till May 16 for the election results.

“Why just me, even AAP volunteers find it difficult to break through the grip of the clique surrounding Kejriwal,” said Ilmi, without taking any names.

Terming the fledgling AAP as ‘directionless”, Ilmi, who has been with Arvind Kejriwal since the Anna Hazare-led anti-graft movement and later joined him to form a political party, was not included in the AAP’s Political Affairs Committee and also had issues with the way in which ticket distribution was done in Delhi.

Ilmi said she had immense respect for Kejriwal but was against his ‘jail/bail and dharna politics’. “AAP played a big role in changing the political discourse in the country. But it needs to evolve. Instead of jail/bail politics, Arvindji should come out and spend time with the volunteers and introspect,” she said.

Ilmi denied she was joining any other political party and said she was open to going back to AAP if she was “given a role and has some relevance”.

(This article was published on May 24, 2014)
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