Captain Kejriwal autocratic, several AAP leaders alleged before jumping the ship

  • Pratyush Ranjan, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 13, 2015 11:33 IST

Many AAP members, who were closely associated with it from the very beginning, have quit the party blaming the top leadership for not working in a 'democratic manner'.

In the latest blow to the party on March 11, AAP leader in Maharashtra Anjali Damania resigned from the Aam Aadmi Party after a television channel aired a sting tape of Arvind Kejriwal allegedly trying to buy out Congress MLAs last year to form the government in Delhi.

"I quit... I have not come into AAP for this nonsense. I believed him. I backed Arvind for principles not horse-trading," Damania tweeted, soon after the audio sting surfaced.

Just weeks ago its two senior leaders - Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan - were asked to put forth their clarifications on the statements in which they criticised the functioning of Kejriwal and the party's leadership in national council meeting. On March 4, the party removed both leaders from its key decision-making political affairs committee (PAC).

The move was aimed at dousing the flames of revolt in the young party, but sources said contentious issues raised by the rebel faction, such as Kejriwal's perceived dictatorial style of running things and lack of transparency, remain unresolved.

Things didn't stop here as Mayank Gandhi on March 5 panned the party's decision to oust Yadav and Bhushan from PAC, indicating a widening of the fault lines within the organisation.

To continue their fight within the party, Yadav and Bhushan on March 11 written a letter to all party workers, maintaining they would fight to ensure the political organisation "remains true" to its founding principles.

The party, whose formation was announced on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti in 2012 and named as the Aam Aadmi Party on November 24, 2012, has seen many such loyalists and believers leave it.

Here is the list of the leaders who quit AAP since the party was formed:

Vinod Binny
Binny had stormed out of the AAP in January 2014 after he was denied a ministerial berth in the party. He had then called Kejriwal a dictator. Binny joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in January 2015.

Ashok Agarwal
National executive member Agarwal quit the party in March 2014, saying it has become "directionless" and functions like a private limited company. In a letter to Kejriwal, Agarwal, who has been associated with the party since its founding days, said that he had joined the party for its strong principles, but the goals for which it was created are getting lost.

Madhu Bhaduri
Bhaduri, an ex-diplomat, quit the party and condemned the Khirki extension case in which Somnath Bharti, then Delhi law minister, undertook a midnight raid on some Ugandan women's residence. Bhaduri said she was displeased with the way the party treated women.

Ashwini Upadhyay
AAP's national council member Upadhyaya, who was expelled for his "anti-party activities", left the party with 2,400 other workers in April 2014. After quitting the party, Upadhyay had accused the party of "parachuting" candidates and deviating from its goals.

Maulana Qazmi
A member of the AAP national council, Qazmi quit the party in April, 2014. He had called Kejriwal's outfit a 'fraudulent entity'.

Shazia Illmi
Illmi, who was one of the founding members of the AAP, resigned in May 2014 saying that the party has deviated from its core issues. Ilmi said the "lack of inner democracy" within the party triggered her resignation. "There is a crony clique that runs the AAP," Ilmi told a press conference where she announced her decision to quit. She said while Kejriwal talked of 'swaraj (freedom), the party itself was undemocratic, and decisions were being taken in a very arbitrary manner.

Captain GR Gopinath
Gopinath resigned from the AAP in May 2014 saying that he had a series of differences on certain matters with Kejriwal. "I am not in favour of the recent actions of Mr Kejriwal, and have decided to quit. The party head cannot just shoot and scoot in politics," he had said.

Surajit Dasgupta
Dasgupta resigned way before the Delhi assembly elections in 2013 took place. Dasgupta, member of AAP's national council, cited lack of internal democracy in the party. While resigning he accused Kejriwal of manipulating facts for political convenience.

Nutan Thakur
Thakur, member of AAP Lucknow, resigned from the party membership after the infamous Shazia Ilmi sting operation came into light. Thakur did not hold any prominent post in the party, but his resignation just before the Delhi assembly elections exposed major chinks in the AAP's armoury.

Maulana Maqsood Ali Kazmi
Kazmi, national council member of AAP, had resigned midway through the 16th Lok Sabha elections. He had questioned the party's decision to gove tickets to Gul Panag, Meera Sanyal and Ashutosh. Kazmi charged that the party was being hijacked by 4-5 who were calling the shots.

SP Udayakumar
Noted anti-nuclear movement activist Udayakumar quit in October last year. The reason that he gave for his departure was that he felt that the party was not sufficiently paying heed to the people and issues relating to Tamil Nadu. Udayakumar had only joined the party in March 2014, and contested the Lok Sabha elections, albeit unsuccessfully.

MS Dhir
The former AAP legislator and speaker of Delhi assembly, Dhir left the party in November last year. He said that the former Delhi chief minister, who ruled the state for 49 days, does not deserve a second chance.

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