Delhi Assembly elections: Kiran Bedi joins BJP; Amit Shah says CM choice only after polls

Retired IPS officer Kiran Bedi joined the BJP today.

By: Express News Service Written by Pradeep Kaushal | New Delhi | Updated: January 16, 2015 3:39 pm
Delhi elections, Kiran Bedi, BJP, Kiran Bedi joins BJP, Kiran Bedi BJP, Arvind Kejriwal BJP President Amit Shah presents a bouquet to former IPS officer Kiran Bedi to welcome her into the party as Union Minister Arun Jaitley and Delhi BJP President Satish Upadhyay look on during a press conference in New Delhi on Thursday. (Source: PTI)

Moving to meet the AAP challenge in Delhi, the BJP inducted on Thursday former IPS officer-turned-activist Kiran Bedi amid indications that she could be the chief ministerial choice of the party if it were to win the polls.

“She will contest the Delhi Assembly elections,” BJP president Amit Shah told a press conference. That the party attached significance to her induction was evident from the presence there of finance minister Arun Jaitley, science and technology minister Harsh Vardhan, Delhi BJP in-charge Prabhat Jha, state unit president Satish Upadhyay and Rajya Sabha member Vijay Goel.

Bedi on government formation in Delhi :

Bedi, on her part, said: “I have come after meeting the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) along with Amit Shahji.” In effect, implying that she had Modi’s support and patronage.

The party is also likely to induct former Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Prada and former AAP leader Shazia Ilmi.

Asked if Bedi would be the party’s CM choice, Shah said the party parliamentary board will take a call only after the results. To another query on whether she would be fielded against AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal, Shah said she will contest for sure but a decision on her seat would be taken later.

Delhi elections, Kiran Bedi, BJP, Kiran Bedi joins BJP, Kiran Bedi BJP, Arvind Kejriwal BJP President Amit Shah and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley with former IPS officer Kiran Bedi after welcoming her into the party during a press conference in New Delhi on Thursday. (Source: PTI)

On her credentials for the CM job, Shah said “all BJP workers are qualified” for the post. Welcoming Bedi, Shah said the entire Delhi unit of the BJP was happy over the development and will “strengthen the state BJP”.

“Kiranji’s constructive contribution will play an important role in ensuring that BJP lives up to the expectations of people in the election and in any future government,” he said.

Jaitley described Bedi as an “able” administrator who had been “a crusader” both inside and outside the government.

“She has experience in governance and enjoys a credible image… She is associated with certain values and has earned a name and a good image for herself,” he said.

Bedi on PM Modi’s government:

All praise for the Prime Minister, Bedi said Delhi needed a “stable” government. “I have come after meeting the Prime Minister. I am grateful to him… I am here due to his inspiration. He has given us new confidence, a revival of hope… My conscience had been evolving since last May… This is a moment chosen by god, by destiny… I have experience of 40 years of dedication to public life… I know how to work and how to make others work… A strong, clear-headed, honest, corruption-free, visionary, stable and steady government is needed in Delhi… I am on a missionary mode.”

Her induction underlines a leadership vacuum in Delhi BJP on the one hand and a certain degree of nervousness in the ruling party in the wake of the challenge mounted by the AAP. The below-expectation turnout at the Modi rally in New Delhi last Saturday has also had party managers worried. Ever since, the BJP has been trying to boost morale of the rank and file and enhance its appeal among voters.

Delhi elections, Kiran Bedi, BJP, Kiran Bedi joins BJP, Kiran Bedi BJP, Arvind Kejriwal Amit Shah presents a bouquet to former IPS officer Kiran Bedi to welcome her into the party during a press conference in New Delhi on Thursday. (Source: PTI)

Kejriwal welcomes Bedi into politics:

Bedi’s entry into the BJP was said to have been strategised by Jaitley as part of a plan to counter the AAP — Bedi and Kejriwal shared the platform with Anna Hazare during his 2011 sit-in which set the stage for the rout of the Sheila Dikshit government.

The BJP cannot risk a defeat in Delhi — one, because the Prime Minister has stepped out himself to take on the AAP; and two, because a defeat in Delhi will hurt the party ahead of the Bihar assembly elections later this year.

A winner of the Magsaysay award, 65-year-old Bedi is a familiar face in Delhi — the first woman IPS officer, she has been in the limelight for reasons right and wrong. During her police career, she came to be known for her no-nonsense approach in regulating city traffic — she was called Crane Bedi — and introduction of prison reforms.

A lathicharge on lawyers in Delhi and the row over her daughter’s admission to a medical course as a domicile of Mizoram kept her in the news.

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