The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday remained tight-lipped on whether retired IPS officer Kiran Bedi will take on AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal from the prestigious New Delhi assembly constituency.
According to sources, the party is still divided over pitting her against Kejriwal or whether to field her from another seat as she is also the face of the party.
Sources said she is not keen on contesting from New Delhi and the party is finalising a seat for her that has a good mix of urban and young voters.
Sources said Bedi will have a major say in deciding on her seat. “She has joined through the central leadership and senior leaders will hold consultations with her before deciding on her seat,” said a senior BJP leader.
BJP leaders said that Krishna Nagar, from where union minister Harsh Vardhan had contested in the last assembly elections, will be a safe seat for her.
Vardhan, who was the BJP’s CM candidate in the last election, is now a Member of Parliament and his assembly constituency is vacant. “He has done a lot of work in his constituency and for Bedi, this will be a suitable option,” the leader added.
The BJP is also looking for a seat that has a large number of urban and young voters, since Bedi has an urban connect. “Seats of the South Delhi assembly segment such as Greater Kailash, Jungpura and Kasturba Nagar are an option. Before announcing her name, we have asked our district units to take feedback from the voters. She is a known face and will be accepted by voters of any constituency,” the leader added.
Talks of Shazia Ilmi and Jaya Prada joining the BJP are on and Delhi may see a number of women candidates. However, BJP leaders are still not sure whom they will pitch against Kejriwal. Sources said the party wants a celebrity face from New Delhi despite a number of senior leaders willing to contest from there.
Last year, a number of leaders were reluctant in taking up the challenge and BJP’s Vijender Gupta had performed poorly coming third in the competition as Arvind Kejriwal defeated Sheila Dikshit by more than 25,000 votes. Senior BJP leader Vijay Jolly was also handed a crushing defeat in 2008 by Dikshit.