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2-min read

Post the Name Controversy, AAP's Atishi Sends Out Strong Message Declaring 'We Are One'

AAP leader Atishi's office in Laxmi Nagar displays a sign bearing images from all religions, with the message: "We are one".

Aniruddha Ghosal | News18.com@aniruddhg1

Updated:September 18, 2018, 5:19 PM IST
Post the Name Controversy, AAP's Atishi Sends Out Strong Message Declaring 'We Are One'
Display Board at Atishi's Laxmi Nagar office proudly displays a sign bearing images from all religions. (Image: News18)

New Delhi: Amid accusations that AAP's east Delhi Lok Sabha probable Atishi had to drop her last name as it was "Christian sounding", her office in Laxmi Nagar proudly displays a sign bearing images from all religions, with the message: "We are one".

The framed sign, that was inaugurated on August 27, has the words "We are one" in English and "Hum ek hai" in Hindi. Surrounding the message are six symbols - each representing a different religion.

A source close to Atishi said, "With six months to go, the BJP's attempts to polarise people has already begun. We wanted to send a message to whoever enters our office that the Aam Aadmi Party belongs to everyone. The focus of our campaign is on Atishi's work in the fields of education and governance that doesn't discriminate between religions."

On the controversy surrounding the dropping of her last name – a combination of Marx and Lenin – she said the decision was "entirely mine". She added that the party had no role in the move. At the same time, her profile on the party's official website was changed to reflect the move. Her campaign material and leaflets also reflected the change, as did her Twitter handle which was changed from @AtishiMarlena to @AtishiAAP.

Last month, Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari had alleged that AAP had felt that Atishi's caste surname could be "politically damaging" and she was “compelled” to drop it. “Aam Aadmi Party is always ready to stoop down to any level for political gains, be it the politics of casteism or provoking religious feelings,” he had said in a statement.

The AAP has consistently alleged that there was a "whisper campaign" by the BJP to try and project her as a "foreigner" and a "Christian" - a charge that the BJP denies. An AAP leader said, "There are 12 lakh voters in east Delhi. It is virtually impossible to try and explain her second name and its antecedents to everyone who is involved.”

Atishi, born to Leftist-activist and academics Vijay Singh and Tripta Wahi, was working as an advisor to deputy CM Manish Sisodia until April, when her appointment was struck down by the Centre. Her appointment being struck down had also kick-started her campaign prematurely, party leaders claimed. "It gave the party the perfect opportunity to actually speak of her credentials to the people of Delhi, to speak of the work that she had done," said an AAP leader.

Atishi, a Rhodes scholar, she has been with the AAP since its formation and will likely be contesting elections against Mahesh Giri, the sitting BJP MP from east Delhi.

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