Former police officer Kiran Bedi joined the BJP on Thursday in the run-up to next month’s Delhi polls, dropping broad hints about her chief-ministerial aspirations.
She met Prime Minister Narendra Modi before joining the BJP and later thanked him for his “inspirational leadership” that changed her. “I wanted to sacrifice my entire life to social work. But he inspired me to join political life,” she said.
The country’s first woman IPS officer spoke about the many hats she has worn — as a teacher, a policewoman and a social worker — to illustrate her contribution to the country during the media presentation at the BJP headquarters after she formally became a party member.
She promised to make Delhi the number one capital city in the world. “I want to make Delhi the capital of this country in the real sense. Delhi ko dil banana hai. Whatever experience, time and energy I have, I will devote to the nation and I am very happy the BJP has given me the opportunity to do so.”
“My aim is to see that Delhi gets a stable, clear-headed, honest and courageous government,” she said.
Seated next to party chief Amit Shah and finance minister Arun Jaitley, she talked of her 40 years of administrative experience and the ability to “do the work and get it done”.
Her remarks were picked up as signals revealing her desire to become the next Delhi chief minister after the February 7 poll if the BJP fares better than the 31 seats it managed in the 2013 election.
Political circles are guessing she may contest against Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal, a former comrade from the anti-corruption movement spearheaded by Anna Hazare in 2011.
Party chief Shah did not name the constituency she would be contesting from and left it to the BJP parliamentary board to take a call on the next chief minister.
“Every BJP worker has the ability to become chief minister. Bedi is also a BJP worker now,” Shah said.
Jaitley praised her experience in governance and credible image. “She has been a crusader in government as well as outside it for a long time.”
Social media was abuzz with speculation about former Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Prada and former AAP leader Shazia Ilmi joining the BJP. “This is under consideration,” a senior BJP leader said.
BJP leaders hoped that Bedi, Prada and Ilmi would give the party an edge over the AAP and the Congress in the campaign for Delhi.
Within minutes of Bedi’s comments on the Prime Minister, Twitter was flooded links to her tweets questioning Modi’s role in the 2002 Gujarat riots. “One day NaMo will need to respond with clarity about riots massacre. Despite Courts clearing him so far,” reads a tweet from March 16 last year.