She came, she saw, but she couldn't conquer. Former top cop Kiran Bedi, billed as BJP's trump card to propel the party to power in the Capital, failed to outshine the AAP's glimmer in the assembly election.
Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal's India Against Corruption colleague Bedi lost the safe Krishna Nagar seat to a little known lawyer SK Bagga by a margin of 2,277 votes.
Bedi made a public apology to the BJP for letting the party down, but said it was not her loss and the party needs to introspect about the reason behind the defeat. The BJP came down to a mere three seats in the assembly from the over 30 it had won in the 2013 election.
Bedi congratulated Kejriwal for his landslide victory. "Full marks to Arvind," she tweeted. "Congratulations. Now take Delhi to the heights it belongs to. Make it a world class city," she added.
"I got all the respect and confidence of the top leaders including Narendra Modi and Amit Shah as well as ordinary party workers. But I ask for their forgiveness as I failed to carry that confidence and responsibility," Bedi told reporters after the BJP's massive defeat. "I have never had to face such a situation," she added.
"I lose only when I do not give my 100% to d cause. I gave it all. My party & we will reflect on the causes of defeat! Best wishes for Delhi (sic)," she said in another tweet.
For many, the BJP's chief ministerial candidate only ended up upsetting the party's carefully laid-down plans just days before the polls. The party that had emerged as the single largest party with 32 seats in 2013 was restricted to a single-digit misery.
The disastrous results were an indication of the fact that BJP's Bedi gamble simply did not work. From almost becoming the CM of Delhi to unable to retain her seat, the fate of 'Kiran Didi or 'Vikas Bedi' seems very grim. Bedi will now have no option but to accept the altered reality where her role in the party is likely to remain restricted. Bedi might have to actually do what she had said in a TV interview earlier, go back 'to Harvard and Cambridge'.
The reasons are many: though state unit leaders kept mum and accepted her as the CM candidate after she was parachuted in by the national leadership, the party's poor performance will ensure that the job of leader of opposition is unlikely to be given to her. Senior BJP leader Jagdish Mukhi, who had earlier served as the opposition leader and was vying for the CM's seat, is not going to let go easily now, sources said.
However, even that seems doubtful now as the BJP would need the nod of the Speaker who is likely to be from AAP to get status of Leader of Opposition.
On Sunday, a section in the party pointed out that her induction in the last minute only added to the confusion and created further rifts within the faction-ridden state unit, which impacted the campaigning and public image of the party.
The time-tested theory of BJP of relying on brand Modi rather than declaring a strong CM candidate is also being cited as another reason that affected party's performance.
Senior leaders point out that shifting the battle focus from Modi to Bedi helped AAP.
"We had won all seven seats in the Lok Sabha and state assembly elections due to brand Modi. Taking on the PM would have impacted AAP negatively and this was the strategy till Bedi was inducted.
Now, people had to choose between two CM candidates - which seemed like an easy choice," a senior BJP leader admitted.