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Kiran Bedi to be BJP's 'face' in Delhi polls

Kiran Bedi. File photo.

Kiran Bedi. File photo.   | Photo Credit: S_MAHINSHA

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Former IPS officer Kiran Bedi, on Thursday, joined the BJP and is going to be the face of the party in the crucial Delhi elections next month.

"Delhi needs a stable, strong, corruption-free government. I have the experience, time and energy to make Delhi a world-class capital city," she declared after becoming an online member in the presence of BJP president Amit Shah and Union Ministers Arun Jaitley and Harshvardhan.

The party's surprise move came a day after the Aam Aadmi Party charged the BJP's Delhi unit president Satish Upadhay's company with "conflict of interest" in providing faulty metres to Delhi in 2012.

"The BJP will be be strengthened by Kiran Bedi joining the party and afterwards during government formation in Delhi," Mr. Shah said while inducting her into the party.

He, however, declined to say if she was the party's chief ministerial candidate or whether she will take on Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal in the elections. "Leave it to the Parliamentary Board to decide," he said answering questions from the media.

Ms. Bedi, a former colleague of Arvind Kejriwal in Anna Hazare's anti-corruption movement, had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi before she came to the BJP headquarters to join the party formally. She said Mr. Modi was her inspiration since May 2014 when he led the BJP to victory in the Lok Sabha elections.She praised him for "reviving hope" in the country.

In an obvious bid to counter Mr Kerjriwal, she emphasised her "40 years of administrative experience" and underlined the fact that she had given up her government job when she was ``overlooked for promotion as Delhi's Police Commissioner'' and along with it gave up her official bungalow, car and attendants. " I feel I was not been challenged in the job being offered to me at the time and decided to immerse myself in social work.'' Ms. Bedi had parted ways with Mr. Kejriwal after the latter decided to form the AAP and contest elections. At the time Ms. Bedi felt that contesting elections was not the right thing to do.

She said joining the BJP was a God-sent moment that she accepted it. She did not take any questions.

Mr. Jaitley said it had been the effort of the party to bring "experienced, trustworthy people" into the party. "The party has been in touch with Ms. Bedi. We are happy she has joined the party. The country knows her. Being in government she has experience of governance, has credibility and has been a crusader after her retirement." The new role she has taken as a politician will strengthen the party.

There is speculation in Delhi circles that former AAP leader Shazia Ilmi and actor-turned-politician Jaya Prada may also join the BJP.

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Printable version | Jul 19, 2018 2:55:38 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/kiran-bedi-joins-bjp/article6792436.ece