New Delhi, May 24 :
Accusing the AAP of being run by a “crony clique” who take “impulsive decisions”, journalist-turned-politician Shazia Ilmi Saturday quit the party citing lack of “inner-party democracy”.
Criticising Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal, Ilmi said at a press conference here: “I have decided to give up my membership of the AAP and resign from all positions within the party.”
“This is a difficult decision for me but it is triggered by the lack of inner-party democracy, specially from a party that constantly talks of Swaraj,” she added.
In a scathing attack on Kejriwal, Ilmi said he had “shot the messenger”.
“Arvind has shot the messenger. For the last four years, I fought like an obedient soldier. However, now I have been systematically marginalised because I offered a voice of dissent and constructive criticism,” she said.
Ilmi further said Kejriwal failed to follow the concept of Swaraj personally, and accused the party of being run by a “crony clique” though she refused to take any names.
“We fight against cronyism but we have a crony clique who run the party and take impulsive decisions which we learn about later. We cannot follow the principles of Swaraj within our own party,” she said.
“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 also criticised Kejriwal’s decision to go to jail and refusing to pay the bail amount in a defamation case.
“Instead of wasting our collective energy in this jail-bail imbroglio, Arvind should actually be spending time with cadres, candidates, volunteers, critics etc.”
“I am not for jail bharo politics. There is a need to reinvent the AAP, go beyond agitation. Sensationalism 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 public,” she said.
Ilmi, however, quickly added that she had the “greatest respect” for Kejriwal and the selfless volunteers who were the “backbone of the party”.
She also clarified that her resignation from the party was not due to the fact that she was asked to contest the Lok Sabha election from Ghaziabad, from where she lost.
“I deny whisper campaigns that my resignation has to do with being fielded from Ghaziabad,” she said.
AAP leader Yogendra Yadav said the party was saddened by the news and the fact that they could not convince Ilmi to change her mind.
“From the time I came to know she wanted to organise a press conference, I spoke to her and asked her to think over the decision. We also told her that Arvind is in jail and not to take such a decision. We are sad we could not convince her,” he said.
“We will surely introspect as we also feel the party has done certain mistakes. It is time for the AAP to learn from its mistakes,” he added.
The Bharatiya Janata party termed the development a result of “arrogance” of Kejriwal and his close associates.
“This had to happen. This party is being run by three-four people who are arrogant just like their leader (Kejriwal). I agree with Ilmi-ji that there is no democracy in the party,” Delhi BJP leader Jagdish Mukhi told IANS.
“This is the beginning of the breaking up of the party,” he added.
The Congress also took a pot shot at Kejriwal and called the AAP a “private limited firm” of the leader.
“The allegation levelled by Shazia Ilmi adds credence to the allegation of the Congress against the party. The allegation has come true now,” Delhi Congress spokesperson Mukesh Sharma told IANS.