Nursing a sore throat, the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate for Delhi, Kiran Bedi, got her voice back at a time her party was finally preparing to release its version of long-delayed poll manifesto -- the vision document -- on Tuesday.
It’s not just coincidence. The euphoria that Bedi’s induction triggered is fizzling out, party sources told HT.
They said Bedi’s inexperience in politics, especially the electoral kind, has only made matters worse for the faction-ridden state unit. The lack of coordination within the state leaders has caused more heartburn with a number of Delhi BJP leaders alleging that they have been sidelined by Bedi, sources said.
This has affected the party’s campaign strategy. The central leadership has taken over with senior ministers getting involved in daily briefings and the party seemingly deflecting focus from Bedi to an aggressive campaign against AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal.
What has also left the BJP leadership worried is the fact that her rallies, roadshows and corner meetings are not attracting the crowds anticipated at the meetings of a chief minister-designate. This led the state unit to assign a team to Bedi for ensuring better crowd management at her poll meetings.
Sources said that even Union minister Harsh Vardhan, who has represented the Krishna Nagar seat for two decades, has been missing from her rallies.
What has upset several leaders both in the state and central unit is that instead of engaging with the party’s manifesto committee, which is headed by Harsh Vardhan, the former IPS officer was busy tweeting her own vision of governance for Delhi -- the 6Ps and 6S.
“She joined the party on January 15 and was declared the CM candidate on the 19th. There was a lot of enthusiasm among the workers as the party finally got a face that plays a crucial role in elections. But even during her first address to the workers she was seen shouting at them, disciplining them. During her rallies, she refused to coordinate with the MPs, who have been directed by the party to help in campaign, claiming she wanted to meet people in her own constituency rather than holding rallies,” a senior leader of the Delhi BJP said.
“This is not how a political animal behaves. Her rallies are not getting good response due to this,” said another BJP leader.
Sources said the party had to gag her for putting the party in a tight spot due to her ‘straight talks’. After this, she finally spoke at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally on January 31 at Karkardooma in east Delhi.