In the 21st century Arvind Kejriwal & Co believes that there is a lot in the Surname and its politics. Atishi Marlena and Ashutosh were told to hide and highlight their surnames
In a run-up to next year's General Elections, Aam Aadmi Party’s East Delhi Lok Sabha probable, Atishi Marlena was asked to drop her second name “Marlena" which is an amalgam of Marx and Lenin: The two communist ideologues Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin who are the renowned flag bearers of the red terror.
Though AAP has disassociated itself from the controversial matter and Atishi who's a member of AAP’s political affairs committee as well said that decision was “entirely mine” and party didn't have any role to play in this. She said- “Marlena is not my surname. My surname is Singh which I never used. The second name was given by my parents. I've decided to use just Atishi for my election campaign.”
Ashutosh's tweet sums up how deep casteism and surname issues have penetrated in AAP. It is a flagrant example of caste-based electoral nominations in the party
Her twitter handle has also been changed from @AtishiMarlena to @AtishiAAP. AAP’S leaflets and posters too carry her first name only. Changing her name is her personal decision, but the timing makes us question the intentions. The matter is not as simple as it seems. It might contain great implicit implications. Atishi Marlena was born to leftist activist- academics Vijay Singh and Tripti Wahi. No wonder her name carries communist roots.
It is not the only case where AAP’s has resorted to low-level politics. The party’s former leader Ashutosh also accused the party of using his caste, surname despite his protest in 2014 polls. Ashutosh never used his surname all through his 23- year- long journalistic career. “In 23 years of my journalism, no one asked my caste and surname. I was identified by my first name only but as I was introduced to party workers as Lok Sabha candidate in 2014, my surname was promptly mentioned despite my protest. Later I was told, ‘Sir jitoge kaise, aapki jati ye yahan kafi vote hain’”.
He tweeted this after AAP’s clarification over Atishi Marlena’s last name. Also, point to be noted that Ashutosh has quit AAP on August 15 citing personal reasons.
The above tweet of Ashutosh sums up how deep casteism and surname issues have penetrated in AAP. It is a flagrant example of caste-based electoral nominations in the party. In fact, casteism has penetrated in the whole Indian politics very deeply as to shape and reshape all political parties but AAP’s case is slightly different. They convinced Atishi Marlena to drop her second name before 2019 polls because it serves them best this way. They forced Ashutosh to use his surname in 2014 polls despite his protest because it served them best that way.
These two incidents show how desperate this AAM AADMI PARTY is for power. Politics has become a lucrative business for AAP. That's why they don't even shy away from twisting name identities of their fielding candidates to ensure winning ability. All for enjoying unfettered power! That's an absolute low. Moral values and ethics have long vanished from the political arena of AAP.
This fact cannot be denied that caste has played a very important role in the success of Bharatiya democracy by mobilising our mass electoral to participate in election process effectively and meaningfully, but some self-involved and self- interested politicians started using caste sentiments of people for their gains and vote bank.
That's what AAP is doing. This kind of petty politics will take AAP nowhere except the way towards rack and ruin. The only advice to AAP is that it should stick to its promise of eradicating corruption from life by root and branch. Reaching to the goal of power by hearkening to inconveniences of the public is the only sure-shot way rather than succumbing to such petty hilarious meaningless politics to fulfil their current interests.
(The writer is a Delhi-based lawyer who was responsible for disqualification of 20 MLAs of AAP for holding office of profit)