New Delhi: The political battle in Delhi has heated up ahead of the Lok Sabha polls in the capital on May 12. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Congress are fighting a ‘caste’ battle. The AAP has indulged in a war of words with the Congress over the former’s East Delhi candidate Atishi’s caste.  

Senior Congress leader and former Okhla MLA Asif Mohammad Khan sparked a controversy after a video of him allegedly calling Atishi a Jew and advising Muslims not to vote for a Judaist went viral.  

In the video, Khan can be heard saying, “Our religion says that Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians are brothers. But there is no place for Jews in the country. We have to take this message to each house. You can vote for the AAP but if you vote for a Jew then we will have complaints against you.”

Sharing the video, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s media advisor Nagendra Sharma wrote, “Real face of Congress exposed: Its habitual offender former Okhla MLA Asif Khan falsely calls @AtishiAAP a Jewi & says Muslims won't accept her. Shameless turncoat @ArvinderLovely who was till recently in BJP is sitting there.”

Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia expressed anguish at Khan's comment and took the caste battle forward. He said Atishi, who is making a debut in the Lok Sabha polls, is a Rajput and belongs to the Kshatriya community.

The senior AAP leader said her full name is Atishi Singh, and that she is a fighter like the queen of Jhansi. “...Beware of her, she will win and create history,” Sisodia said.

In August 2018, AAP’s East Delhi candidate, Atishi dropped her surname 'Marlena' and has been campaigning under the name 'Atishi'. She had dropped ‘Marlena’ from her Twitter handle and all party publicity materials as well.

It was alleged that the name was dropped because it was ‘Christian sounding’, which may not have been suitable in her campaign during the Lok Sabha elections. The party had denied the allegations, saying that her real surname was 'Singh' and the 'Marlena' surname was given by her parents, which is a combination of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin.

Atishi had earlier said, “My actual surname is Singh and I come from a Punjabi Rajput family. Had I wanted to appease voters, I would have gladly used my real surname.”