New Delhi: In a double blow to the Aam Aadmi Party, Shazia Ilmi and Captain GR Gopinath resigned today. While Shazia Ilmi, a founder member, announced her decision at a press conference in Delhi, Capt. Gopinath sent his resignation letter from France.
"Arvind has shot the messenger... For four years I fought like an obedient soldier but now I have been systematically marginalised because I offer a voice of dissent and constructive criticism," said Ms Ilmi. (Watch: Shazia Ilmi quits AAP, says 'lack of democracy' in party)
Blaming the party for lacking inner-party democracy, Ms Ilmi accused the party of sensationalism and taking impulsive decisions.
"I strongly believe instead of wasting our collective energy in this jail-bail imbroglio Arvind should spend time with the cadres instead of just listing to his quadrate," Ms Ilmi said. (Read: Press Statement)
Capt. Gopinath, the Air Deccan founder, who is considered a pioneer in the low-cost airline sector, told NDTV.com that his reason for quitting the party wasn't the same as that of Ms Ilmi. (Blog: Why I Quit the Aam Aadmi Party, By Captain Gopinath)
"I still admire Arvind Kejriwal for changing the nature of Indian politics. I'm not resigning for lack of inner party democracy. They never asked me to shut up. He must show grace in defeat and focus on building the party brick by brick. He must persist. India needs AAP now that we do not have a national opposition party," he said. (An Open Letter From Prisoner No. 3642, Arvind Kejriwal)
AAP's highest decision making body sans their leader met in the capital today and senior leader Yogendra Yadav said, "Saddened by Shazia ji's resignation, tried to persuade her to stay but sadly we couldn't convince her. Did not even know when Gopinath entered the party."
After Delhi, Bangalore was one city where AAP was hoping to do very well. Despite people with extraordinary backgrounds joining the party, that did not happen. With the spate of resignations now, voters like Justice Santosh Hegde, who supported the Anna Hazare movement for the Lokpal Bill say, AAP's story may not yet be over, but it does need to make people believe it means serious, mature and responsible politics.