Atishi Marlena name controversy: Ashutosh reveals how his surname was mentioned during 2014 Lok Sabha polls despite his protest

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A day after several media reports said that Aam Aadmi Party had allegedly forced its Lok Sabha candidate, Atishi Marlena, to drop her ‘Christian sounding’ surname, another former party leader said that he too encountered similar problem during 2014 polls.

Ashutosh
File Photo: PTI

Taking to Twitter, Ashutosh, who recently quit AAP, said, “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? Your community has a lot of votes.'”

Minutes later, Ashutosh tweeted again clarifying that his tweet was not intended to show his former party in a poor light adding that TV channels had misunderstodd his social media post.

He wrote, “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.”

On Tuesday, several media reports had accused AAP of forcing Marlena to drop her ‘Christian’ sounding surname fearing that the BJP may extract an electoral advantage during the polls.

Quoting an anonymous AAP leader NDTV reported that the BJP had started spreading ‘rumours about Atishi even though she is from a Punjabi Rajput family.’ “So the party requested her to remove her surname from all our campaign material,” NDTV quoted an AAP leader.

The party reacted issuing a clarification that Marlena was never her surname. AAP’s Akshay Marathe tweeted, “She has always been Atishi. Marlena was a given name, while her surname is Singh.”

But the news evoked angry reactions from Twitterati including journalists, some of whom felt that AAP too had embarked on a communal agenda by asking its Lok Sabha candidate to drop her ‘Christian sounding’ surname.

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