AAP leader Atishi Marlena drops second name, furor follows
In a rather strange development, AAP leader Atishi Marlena's second name was dropped from all party and campaign material, but she has denied any caste angle to it. Slamming the speculated caste angle behind this decision, she said she didn't want to waste time in proving her identity. Notably, she will contest Lok Sabha elections on an AAP ticket from East Delhi. Here's more.
Currently, Atishi's Twitter handle is @AtishiAAP as opposed to @AtishiMalena earlier. Atishi said her actual surname is Singh and she belonged to Punjabi Rajput family. "Had I wanted to appease voters then I would have gladly used my surname," she said. Her leftist parents Dr Tripta Wahi and Dr Vijay Singh gave her the surname, combining last names of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin.
"I do not want to waste time in proving my identity to people. I am going to fight this election solely on the basis of our work in the field of education, health and my vision for East Delhi," Atishi said.
East Delhi, the constituency Atishi is contesting from, largely consists of migrants from UP and Bihar. Anonymous AAP dignitaries told HT, BJP was running a 'whisper campaign' against Atishi alleging she was a foreigner and Christian. But BJP's Rajesh Bhatia denied allegations saying the party never practised communal politics and said, "Atishi and AAP are scared of being badly defeated in Lok Sabha elections."
A progressive politician like @AtishiAAP who DOES NOT use her caste name 'Singh' to ask for votes, is being targeted for using only Atishi without 'Marlena'— Akshay Marathe (@AkshayMarathe) August 28, 2018
Our discourse is around education and healthcare, not on identities of caste and religion.
Amid this row, former AAP leader Ashutosh's tweets hint he was told by the party to include his surname, despite his protest. He wrote no one asked for his surname in his journalistic career, but it was mentioned to party workers during 2014 elections. "I was told that without highlighting my caste, it will be difficult to win," Ashutosh tweeted.
My tweet is misunderstood by TV HAWKS. I am no longer with AAP, not constrained by party discipline and free to express my views. It will be wrong to attribute my words as attack on AAP. It will be gross manipulation of media freedom. Spare me. I not member of anti-AAP BRIGADE.— ashutosh (@ashutosh83B) August 29, 2018