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Gopinath quits AAP, points out ‘mistakes’

Bangalore, May 24: Captain C.R. Gopinath, the pioneer of low-cost airlines in the country, has quit the Aam Aadmi Party just four months after his high-profile entry.

Founder of Air Deccan that later merged with the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines, Gopinath today sent a brief resignation letter to Prithvi Reddy, the AAP’s national executive member in-charge of Karnataka.

“This is to inform you that I would like to resign from the membership of the Aam Aadmi Party with immediate effect because (of) increasing difference with the party leadership and its ways,” he wrote, but did not elaborate.

“I have expressed most of my views also on the media, including today.”

Gopinath was very critical of the AAP leadership in his blog carried by a news portal today. He lauded Arvind Kejriwal’s guts in openly attacking major parties and their leaders but had strong reservations on some of the tactics deployed by the party.

Commenting on Kejriwal’s arrest in a defamation case filed by BJP leader Nitin Gadkari, Gopinath wrote: “He (Kejriwal) should have presented himself in the court. His lawyers argued he was busy with elections and pleaded for time.

“That was the first mistake. If one has time to accuse someone, 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.”

Kejriwal’s refusal to furnish a bail bond seemed to be “convoluted logic”, Gopinath said. “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 Kejriwal’s arrest could not be equated with that of Mahatma Gandhi during the freedom struggle or of Anna Hazare during the anti-corruption campaign. “That was political action for a noble cause.”

A critic of some of AAP’s policies despite being a party member, Gopinath had on several occasions spoken out against the “sensationalist politics” of the party.

Days after joining the party in January this year, Gopinath had lashed out at the AAP’s opposition to FDI in multi-brand retail.

He had then warned: “AAP is running in danger of being branded like other political parties of resorting to cheap and populist measures and opposing for the sake of opposing.”

In a 1000-word statement, Gopinath had accused the party of “unwittingly playing into the hands of Indian oligopolies who were opposing FDI in retail so that they could have a monopoly like Birlas had on Ambassador cars”.

Within two days, AAP embarked on a course correction, seeking the opinion of investors and industrialists across the country.

The Karnataka state treasurer, K.N. Chandrakanth, has also quit the party. “I’m not happy with what’s happening in the party,” he said, confirming his resignation.

But party spokesperson Rohit Ranjan claimed the treasurer had quit because of “personal reasons”.