In a press conference organised on Thursday, Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP’s) East Delhi candidate Atishi broke down, and alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party and its candidate Gautam Gambhir are circulating a derogatory pamphlet, and are running a smear campaign against her in East Delhi.
According to reports, the pamphlet has been circulated in Krishna Nagar and the adjoining areas. While Gautam Gambhir took to Twitter to deny any role in the circulation of the pamphlet, in a damage control mode, he also said that he will withdraw his candidature if the allegations are proved. It is not yet clear as to who circulated the pamphlets and how many households it has reached. However, the nature of the content in the pamphlet warrants investigation and action.
The pamphlet targets her and her family, calling her a “beef eater” and a “mixed breed”. Heavily loaded with sexism and misogyny, it goes on to discredit her personality, and assassinates her character by raising aspersions over her relationship with an AAP leader.
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When one begins to examine the language used in the pamphlet, it becomes clear that she is being maligned for being a woman in politics who is contesting against a man. Her political acumen is also targeted in the pamphlet, which claims that she cannot draft the education policies she is receiving the credit for, the brain behind it being Sisodia. This exposes the inherent thought process behind the chosen words – a woman cannot be capable of intellectual tasks. The pamphlet goes on to use the words “Sisodia allowed her to contest” to cement this belief. The letter states that Sisodia is a “Scheduled Caste” making a casteist campaign against the leaders apparent.
The letter is a blatant reminder of the sexism that women politicians taking on powerful men have to deal with on an everyday basis. It is important to question if a letter like this questioning a man would have been circulated to discredit his candidature. This is not the first time that Atishi has been questioned. Previously, her and her family were targeted for her surname ‘Marlena’ and her family has been termed as a part of the “tukde-tukde gang [supposed anti-nationals]”. In a road show in Delhi yesterday with actor Swara Bhaskar, Atishi had said, “It is the BJP who is the real tukde-tukde gang trying to polarise the country and cause conflicts.”
Never imagined Gautam Gambhir to stoop so low. How can women expect safety if people wid such mentality are voted in?
Atishi, stay strong. I can imagine how difficult it must be for u. It is precisely this kind of forces we have to fight against. https://t.co/vcYObWNK6y
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) May 9, 2019
The pamphlet is being condemned across the spectrum on social media. Delhi CM and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal stated, “How will BJP guarantee safety of women?”
Delhi goes to polls on May 12. Atishi is banking heavily on her work in the education sector to take on Gambhir and Congress’s Arvinder Singh Lovely.
Also read: AAP's Atishi Exudes Confidence, Says Gambhir's Candidature Has to Be Cancelled