Delhi Assembly elections: New constituency and new challenges for Atishi

Sukrita Baruah
Atishi, AAP leader Atishi, Kalkaji constituency delhi, delhi assembly elections, delhi elections, delhi city news, indian express

Atishi and Sisodia on the way to file her nomination papers Friday. (Express photo by Abhinav Saha)

A new face in Kalkaji, Aam Aadmi Party leader Atishi filed her nomination from the constituency on Friday.

Atishi is a new face in the state assembly polls but not in Delhi’s campaign calendar — just nine months ago, she had contested from the East Delhi Lok Sabha constituency for AAP, where she finished behind the BJP and Congress candidates. She began her assembly election campaign with a rally with education minister Manish Sisodia by her side.

“Ye wahi mahila hai, jisne ek rupye ke tankhwa par Dilli ke schoolon ko chamkaya (this is the same woman who spruced up Delhi schools at a salary of Re 1),” blared loudspeakers at the rally, in reference to her stint as education adviser to Sisodia, which ended in April 2018 — along with that of eight other party functionaries — after an advisory from the Union Home Ministry asserted that the ‘creation’ of the posts had become ‘void’.

The sitting AAP MLA in whose place she is contesting, Avtar Singh, has not been given a ticket by the party this time, but he remains a popular figure in the area.

“He is a good man, very approachable. He is known around here — it is like approaching a family member for help. But it’s fine, we will vote keeping in mind work done by the Aam Aadmi Party,” said Preeti Singh (40), a resident who had come rushing out of her home with her phone to take photographs of the rally.

Her friend Reena Sharma (37) said she did not know who Atishi is but added that it did not matter. “She is new here, we don’t know her yet. But the way everyone voted in Lok Sabha elections to make Modi the Prime Minister, we will all vote to make Kejriwal the Chief Minister,” she said.

Still, among some residents, there was heartburn over AAP’s candidate selection. “She is from Jamnapaar (across the Yamuna), they should have fielded someone from this area,” said Ram Singh (65). Singh’s comment referred to Atishi’s earlier electoral venture from East Delhi, even though she is a resident of Jangpura.

“It would have been more beneficial for them if they had fielded a Sikh candidate from here. This might affect the party a little bit,” he said.