Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Monday announced Atishi Marlena, a former advisor to Education Minister Manish Sisodia, as its candidate in the Lok Sabha election from East Delhi constituency. She is the first candidate to be announced by AAP for the 2019 elections.
But pay attention, because Atishi is not your usual political neta. With a Bachelor’s degree in History Honors from St. Stephen’s College, followed by a Master’s degree in History from Oxford University on a Chevening scholarship, Atishi is as educated a politician as one can hope for. She worked as a Rhodes Scholar before coming back to India to join the education sector. In India, she associated with a number of non-profit organisations, and worked to uplift a small village in Madhya Pradesh, deciding to work at the grassroots. Marlena served as an advisor to Delhi’s education minister Manish Sisodia from July 2015 to April 17, 2018 and was also involved in drafting the manifesto of the party in the 2015 Delhi Assembly elections.
Atishi Marlena has played pivotal roles in reforming the education system of Delhi under AAP government, through 8 significant programmes that have changed the face of Delhi’s government schools, a fact highlighted even by foreign print media. These include holding Mega Parent Teacher Meetings (PTMs), bringing back School Management Committees (SMCs) which were formed for better governance of schools across the city, and the recently launched Buniyad Mission that will focus on improving learning among primary and secondary students.
On 17th April, the AAP government had to cancel the posts of 9 advisors because these weren’t official posts sanctioned by the Centre. The Union Home Ministry had brought out a list of the posts not approved by the Centre. Atishi, along with 8 other advisors, was freed from their duties towards the AAP government. Young, well-educated, eager to make a difference – these advisors were hired at a salary of Re 1 per month.
Angered by the State’s decision that would essentially paralyse the AAP government’s functioning, Manish Sisodia tweeted:
Modi Govt's order to remove Delhi govt advisors is a conspiracy to derail education revolution in Delhi.
Real intention of the order is to paralyse our govt work, since no BJP govt has been able to deliver anything on education & health
— Manish Sisodia (@msisodia) April 17, 2018
She will operate out of the newly inaugurated office on Vikas Marg near the Laxmi Nagar metro station.She also said on the occasion: “By naming this road Vikas Marg, did people get schools, universities or hospitals? For real development, AAP has to be strengthened and Delhi”s seven Lok Sabha seats have to be won by AAP .”
Here’s hoping that a well- educated, experienced and enthusiastic leader finds their place in India’s Parliament, and brings reforms that the country desperately needs.