G R Gopinath, pioneer of low-cost air travel in India, today quit Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is reeling under Lok Sabha poll debacle, citing growing differences with the leadership and its ways and criticized Arvind Kejriwal's recent actions.
Gopinath, who joined AAP in January this year, stressed that he was a great admirer of Anna Hazare and Kejriwal and continues to be so but disagreed with some of the decisions of of the AAP chief saying a head of a party cannot indulge in "shoot and scoot politics".
In a communication to AAP's Karnataka Convenor Prithvi Reddy, he said, "I would like to resign from the membership of the Aam Admi Party with immediate effect because of increasing differences with the party leadership and its ways." Gopinath said he had "expressed most of my views also in the media including today" and wished "the party well in its future endeavours".
When contacted, Gopinath confirmed the development over phone from Toulouse in France where the headquarters of aircraft manufacturing major, Airbus, is located.
He disagreed with Kejriwal on his refusal to furnish a bail bond in the defamation case filed against him by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Nitin Gadkari.
Gopinath said it could not be compared to the stand taken by Hazare, who was sent to judicial custody in August 2011 following his arrest during Janlokpal Bill agitation after he refused to sign a personal bond.
He had founded the first low-cost carrier Air Deccan in 2003, which was taken over by Vijay Mallya and named 'Kingfisher Red' that has now closed down.
In a blog titled 'Has Kejriwal lost his way' today, he criticised the functioning of AAP chief. He said when Kejriwal took on Robert Vadra on corruption charges, "the BJP loved it and also went in for the kill against the Congress", adding that Kejriwal then took on Nitin Gadkari
"Kejriwal was brazen and broke that rule. He went for the jugular. What was rumoured in whispers, he stood up to in public, which made him the darling of the people and the media.... Kejriwal did not stop there. He made allegations against other high and mighty of the land," the blog said.
"It's one thing to gossip about it in private but when one holds a responsible position as head of a political party, one has to take responsibility and not, as some one described it, indulge in shoot and scoot politics, denigrating people's reputation, however credible the rumours may seem and however tempting the chance to score brownie points or capture media attention and public sympathy as a crusader against corruption," Gopinath said in the blog.
Referring to the defamation case, he said Kejriwal committed a mistake by not appearing in court. "His lawyers argued he was busy with elections and pleaded for time. That was the first mistake. If one has time to accuse some one, then one must also find the time to appear in court and defend oneself and not only present evidence to prove the allegations but also press charges for prosecution," he said.
Noting that Kejriwal refused to furnish a bail bond pleading that he had not committed any crime as his action was political, he termed it as "convoluted logic". "His actions of naming high profile politicians or businessmen may have a worthy political cause of exposing corruption in government and crony capitalism, but it cannot by any stretch of imagination be equated with political activism," he said.
Gopinath had joined the party in January stating that "Kejriwal's AAP is seen transforming that hope of Anna's fight against corruption into action."
He had however openly slammed the decision of the AAP government in Delhi to reject Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail, saying the party is "running in danger" of being branded like other parties of resorting to cheap and populist measures.