Amidst Atishi’s surname row, another tale of ‘caste politics’ from AAP emerges

New Delhi: After AAP Atishi Marlena’s surname was dropped from her twitter handle as well AAP website, posters, banners, hoardings and poll pamphlets, a new case of “caste” politics has come out of the party.

The name of party’s legislator from Jangpura was portrayed as Praveen Kumar in the affidavit during 2015 polls. The same name was also reflected on electronic voting machines.

However, party insiders are claiming that the party took a conscious decision to drop Deshmukh–a surname used mainly by people in Maharashtra–from Praveen’s name. It is being claimed that this decision was taken as Kumar was contesting from a Sikh-dominated area and in 2013, a candidate from the said community, Maninder Singh, had won the seat. However, Kumar has shot down these claims.

“My surname still remains Deshmukh. I use my name as Praveen Kumar. That is the one on my voter card,” Kumar said.

The 34-year-old Jangpura legislator, an old party hand, joined the anti-graft movement spearheaded by Arvind Kejriwal and his colleagues after quitting his job as a regional manager in an IT company. He first entered the electoral fray in 2015.

Prior to his electoral plunge, Kumar was an organisation man, who was the East Delhi in-charge in 2014 Lok Sabha polls. He later formed frontal organisations that proved to be crucial in the party’s 2015 stupendous win.

Meanwhile, former AAP leader Ashutosh on Wednesday revealed that he was introduced to party workers as AAP’s Chandni Chowk candidate with his surname. A former scribe, Ashutosh only uses his first name.

“In 23 years of my journalism, no one asked my caste, surname. Was known by my name. But as I was introduced to party workers as LOKSABHA candidate in 2014 my surname was promptly mentioned despite my protest. Later I was told-Sir, how will you win. There are many votes of people from your caste,” Ashutosh tweeted.

The former AAP leader clarified in another tweet that his comment should not be misunderstood and he is not a part of the anti-AAP brigade.

(With inputs from IANS)