Meet Atishi Marlena, Education Reformer Who Won for AAP In Delhi Elections

For Atishi this comes as a huge redemption after 2019's Lok Sabha Election which she fought from East Delhi against Gautam Gambhir and lost - a defeat many lamented for Atishi.

Poorvi Gupta
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Atishi Marlena women politics

One woman has played a big role in AAP's clean sweep win in the Delhi Election 2020. Atishi Marlena won the Kalkaji assembly seat against BJP’s Dharambir Singh. But what's got her real votes and fans, is the fact that Atishi took on the arduous task of fixing Delhi public school system. In some cases, reports say some of Delhi's schools are now at par with private-sector education - an achievement hardly anyone can claim in the current political system.


Atishi is the former advisor to Delhi's Education Minister Manish Sisodia. She has always taken interest in public policy. As a Rhodes scholar she went to Oxford University. She believes it is important that people from all communities recognize the work that her party has done particularly in education and health sector. She notes, that for her this victory is a standing example of ground work by the party.

“I assume it is because of the kind of work I have been doing in transforming the government school structure in the city. The efforts of the party are to present different kinds of candidates as compared to mainstream politicians, but really it’s the party’s choice who they want to field for a constituency,” Atishi noted in an earlier interview with SheThePeople.

Simply dressed, soft spoken but full of willpower and conviction, Atishi is a silent newsmaker for many good reasons. She takes a token salary of Re 1 to be who she is

Atishi won with a vote share of 55897 against Singh in Kalkaji. For Atishi this comes as a huge redemption after 2019's Lok Sabha Election which she fought from East Delhi against Gautam Gambhir and lost - a defeat many lamented for Atishi.

Also read: AAP’s Atishi Calls Out Home Minister For Ignoring Women’s Safety

Atishi has taken on many roles. She served as the education advisor from July 2015 to April 17, 2018. She has also been involved in drafting the manifesto of the party for the 2015 Delhi Assembly elections. She operates out of the party's office at Vikas Marg near the Laxmi Nagar metro station. Appointed as a spokesperson of the party in 2013, she has been representing the party on television debates ever since.


Born in June 1981, Atishi did her schooling from Springdales School in New Delhi. She studied history at St Stephen’s College and later pursued Master’s on a Chevening scholarship at Oxford University. With her second Master’s from Oxford as a Rhodes, she became a Scholar in Educational Research.

Atishi spent some time teaching at Rishi Valley School in Andhra Pradesh. She has also worked with several non-profit organisations, such as the Sambhavana Institute of Public Policy.

Also read: Electing Women Not Enough For Gender-Responsive Governance: Atishi Marlena

Political career

In January 2013, she became involved in policy formulation for the AAP. Atishi serves as a member of the party’s apex executive body, the Political Affairs Committee. As an Advisor to the Education Minister of Delhi, she played a key role in leading the education reforms.

She also spearheaded the flagship Mohalla Sabha Project for the Government of NCT of Delhi. She famously worked for the Delhi government for an honorarium of one rupee per month, before she was removed by the government at the Centre in April, 2018.

Atishi's huge contribution to the capital’s education system has been Mission Buniyaad. This three-month campaign ensured students from grades III to IX were provided basic reading, writing and mathematical skills.


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