‘Schools Wahin Banayenge’: On the Campaign Trail with AAP’s Atishi
Cameraperson: Shiv Kumar Maurya
Video Editors: Vishal Kumar, Ashutosh Bhardwaj
Once removed as the education advisor to Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Aam Aadmi Party’s East Delhi candidate Atishi wants these Lok Sabha elections to be won or lost on the issue of education.
On 17 April 2018, Atishi, along with eight other ministerial advisors of the AAP government, was forced to be removed after the Union Home Ministry said the Centre had not approved the creation of any such posts.
Atishi, who claimed she drew a monthly salary of Re 1, says the cancellation of her appointment revealed “what a petty mindset the BJP has.”
The East Delhi candidate said the Bharatiya Janata Party had an ulterior motive of trying and stopping AAP from doing good work in the education sector. She added, “I am definitely qualified for the post. I have a masters degree in education from the Oxford University. I was drawing a Re 1 salary, so there was no question of any financial corruption.”
The Journey From Stephens to Oxford to Social Activism to Politics
“When I realised how important it is for the right people to be in right positions of power, I decided to fight the elections.”
Having worked in social sector for long, Atishi said she decided to join politics when she realised “only social movements” are not enough to make a change.
On Tussle With the Centre
The AAP has been demanding full statehood following a series of tussles with the lieutenant governor of Delhi. Atishi listed out a few hurdles she claimed the Centre caused for her party:
- Vacant land in East Delhi allotted for a garbage dump but not for a super speciality hospital proposed by the AAP government
- Plans for mohalla clinics stalled for three years till a hunger strike was launched by AAP MLAs
- Files for CCTV footage held up for a long time
- Doorstep delivery of services stopped stating “traffic congestion and pollution”
- Regular notices sent by Income Tax department to the CM, Deputy CM
- Every central agency being used to curb the freedom of AAP officials
On Why There’s No AAP-Congress Alliance
Atishi is pitted against BJP’s star candidate and former cricketer Gautam Gambhir and Congress’ Arvinder Singh Lovely. She believes this election should be aimed at defeating the Modi-Shah duo at the helm. “However,” she said, “the Congress doesn’t seem serious in its motive of defeating the BJP.”
She said, “Rahul Gandhi seems more interested in weakening the third front than defeating the BJP.”