Like the Congress party and the BJP, the new political party AAP has also not been wholly detached from advancing the caste factor in the electoral politics. It cannot be told that the AAP is under stress because it keeps touching the traditional caste factor in its party politics.
Former AAP leader Ashutosh has accused the party of having tried to invoke caste sentiments by using his surname during the 2014 elections. Afterwards, another prominent leader Atishi Marlena has dropped her exceptional surname because it sounded more like a Christian name.
‘Marlena’ is the last name of Atishi, which is said to be a title mingling Marx and Lenin. It has been emphasised that she has dropped her given name for some kind of the higher objective. Coming of a Punjabi Rajput family she became the party’s first candidate for the 2019 parliamentary polls.
Although her actual surname ends with ‘Singh’ yet she refrains using the last name simply to put a damper on the caste-based politics. Was her Christian sounding surname ‘Marlena’ averse to the caste-based political setting?
She has made it clear that it was not been initiated under the party’s pressure. It was her own decision as she wanted to show her caste-free face.
Denying the influence of caste angle on his party, the AAP general secretary Akshay Marathe stated that our discourse was around healthcare and education not on identities of caste and religion.
Taking the point even the AIMIM chief Assad-ud-din Owaisi said this was the reality of Indian politics. One could not have a Muslim or Christian sounding name to get elected. Naturally, he took the time to study the caste factor in the politics and its effects over the clever political designs; his mind definitely hangs around the politics which is fixed firmly on the caste connection.