Delhi polls: BJP upbeat but senior leaders upset

  • Neelam Pandey, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jan 17, 2015 01:00 IST

Grappling with leadership issues and infighting ahead of assembly polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Delhi unit got a shot in the arm just with former IPS officer Kiran Bedi joining the party on Thursday.

Sources in the BJP said that while the party will contest the assembly elections under brand Modi, Bedi is most likely to be the face of the party.

Her speech on Thursday while joining the party reflected that she would spearhead the election campaign.

Bedi in her speech laid a lot of emphasis on good governance and fighting corruption.

Former AAP leader Shazia Ilmi, who is likely to join BJP soon, underscored the point that Bedi would be the face of BJP and its chief ministerial candidate. She tweeted: “Kiran Bedi will lead Delhi with administrative perfection, commitment and integrity. She was a strong pillar in the Anti corruption movt (sic).

Even Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Goel posted on his Facebook page: “I am certain that under her inspirational leadership, the BJP will win the forthcoming elections and Delhi will grow”.

The state unit has so far been maintaining that it would fight the assembly elections under a collective leadership and will highlight the work done by the Narendra Modi government. But Thursday’s induction is likely to change that.

According to sources, while the Delhi BJP unit seemed to be upbeat as the entire agenda of good governance, anti-corruption and development could be highlighted properly now with Bedi at the forefront, a number of senior leaders hoping to be considered for the CM’s post were unhappy with her induction.

“If the party wanted to name her as the chief ministerial candidate they would have done that today. She is definitely contesting the elections but whether she will be the CM candidate will be decided by the central leadership only after the elections,” said a senior BJP leader.

Not only this, her induction brings a woman face to the party and will attract women voters who had voted in large numbers for AAP during the 2013 elections.

“Our entire campaign in Delhi is based on providing good governance to the people and cracking down on corruption. Kiran Bedi was part of the anti-corruption campaign and had worked closely with anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare too. Now our workers can counter the AAP much more aggressively. The state unit was a divided house so far and her joining BJP has united a number of factions. The workers too seem quite jubilant,” said a senior BJP leader.

Sources said the central leadership has taken everything under its control to ensure a clear majority in the assembly elections.

“A meeting will be held soon to decide how she can be used in the publicity campaigns. Consultations will be held with Bedi to decide on the future course of action,” said a senior BJP leader.

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