New Delhi: In a major jolt to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), its popular woman face, journalist turned politician Shazia Ilmi resigned from the party on Saturday criticizing the “bail jail game" of its founder Arvind Kejriwal. One of the members associated with the days of anti-corruption movement under the banner of India Against Corruption (IAC), Ilmi’s resignation comes at a time when Kejriwal is in Tihar Jail under judicial custody.

Ilmi, who has been national executive member of the party, said that the party was being run by a “handful of people" and it has failed to implement internal democracy in the organisation.

“I am leaving the party because there is no internal democracy in the party specially given the whole context of Swaraj which is Arvind’s idea," Ilmi told reporters at a media briefing in the national capital. Swaraj, an idea pushed by Kejriwal, talks about deventralisation of power.

The AAP has seen many prominent members leave from the beginning almost on the same grounds including popular party legislator Vinod Kumar Binny and national executive member Ashok Agrawal. Both Ilmi and Binny have talked about Kejriwal’s inaccessibility and the party being run by just a handful of people.

“There are a bunch of people who decide everything in the party. There are gates now which are manned by gatekeepers and it is difficult for even people like me to get through in the party, forget about common volunteers," she said.

An important media face in the party, Ilmi has contested both the elections for AAP — R K Puram Delhi assembly seat and Ghaziabad Lok Sabha seat. She had lost both the elections.

“I strongly feel that that instead of this bail jail game, Kejriwal should spend time with volunteers, with people who contested elections for us and the critics if at all," she said adding that the days of “dharna politics" are over and it is a fatigued idea.

“I know Arvind has done it based on his ideologies and he has done it before too but this is the time of self introspection and self introspection cannot happen in a jail," she added.

Meanwhile, defending itself, senior leaders of the AAP presented a united front soon after Ilmi’s press conference. “All the members of the political affairs committee are very sad about the comments made by Shazia Ilmi. She has been a founding member and she has been a very important member. She has been upset for sometime now...we are sad that we could not convince her," Yogendra Yadav, senior leader of the party told reporters adding that the party will introspect on the “constructive criticism" that she referred to.

Saperately, a Delhi Court on Saturday issued a bailable warrant against Ilmi for her non-appearance in a criminal defamation complaint against her by lawyer Amit Sibal who is also the son of outgoing union cabinet minister Kapil Sibal.

The Amit Sibal defamation case, was filed because the AAP, in a press conference, had alleged conflict of interest in the Vodafone concessions announced by Kapil Sibal as Amit Sibal was Vodafone’s lawyer in matters before the Supreme Court.

PTI contributed to this story

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