BJP flags Kiran Bedi as Chief Minister

Kiran-BediNEW DELHI: Former IPS officer Kiran Bedi, who spearheaded the anti-corruption crusade by Anna Hazare some years ago, was named by the BJP as its chief ministerial candidate in Delhi.

Bedi, who joined the party only on Thursday, will contest the February 7 Delhi Assembly election from Krishna Nagar in east Delhi, which was won by Dr Harsh Vardhan, now a Union minister, in the last polls in 2013.

Incidentally, Dr Harsh Vardhan was also then the party’s CM candidate.

The announcement marked a break from the BJP’s recent stand in Assembly polls in Maharashtra, Haryana, J&K and Jharkhand, where it had not declared any CM candidate.

Addressing a press conference after a meeting of the BJP central election committee, party president Amit Shah said: “The BJP parliamentary board has decided that the party will contest the Delhi elections under the leadership of Kiran Bedi. She will also be our CM candidate.”

The decision to make Bedi the chief ministerial candidate was supported by all members, Shah added.

He said the Krishna Nagar seat was selected for her as it is a BJP bastion, and Bedi will be able to devote more time to ensure the victory of the other candidates.

In Krishna Nagar, Bedi will take on the AAP’s S.K. Bagga and the Congress’ Bansi Lal.

While making the announcement, the BJP president also said the party will contest all 70 seats of the Delhi Assembly along with its ally, the Shiromani Akali Dal.

The parliamentary board meeting was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, among others.

Bedi thanked the party for reposing faith in her. “I had already expressed my readiness to contest from any seat. The whole of Delhi is close to my heart. We will develop a good Delhi,” she said.

Asked about the voices of dissent over Bedi leading the party’s poll campaign in the national capital, Shah said there was no resentment and everyone was working as one team to ensure the BJP’s victory.

The BJP’s Delhi leaders, including Jagdish Mukhi, had earlier expressed reservation over Ms Bedi being inducted without them being consulted, while another leader Manoj Tewari too had made known his discontent, but both later toed the party line.

Earlier, Bedi described the BJP as an “amazing and organised” party, while dismissing as “exaggerated” the reports of brewing resentment within it over her being projected as CM candidate.

She likened the comments against her to differing voices within a family.

“It’s all exaggerated. I am an insider now. They (party workers) are very happy. They are very united. You can have a voice even in a family here and there. The party workers are happy, enthused and united,” she said. – From The Asian Age

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