The BJP is considering a bigger role for Kiran Bedi in the Delhi polls, including projecting her as the party’s chief ministerial candidate, but some leaders are opposed to pitching her for the top job, citing her lack of organisational experience and “dominant nature” as serious issues.
The former Team Anna supporter joined the BJP on Thursday, sparking speculation in political circles that she may be pitted against AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal for the chief minister’s post.
“Among Delhi BJP leaders, she is the only match to Arvind Kejriwal. She will be our face. Projecting her as the chief ministerial candidate is being seriously explored. A decision could be taken on Monday,” a BJP leader told HT.
BJP chief Amit Shah was silent on the issue on Thursday, saying the party’s parliamentary board would take a call on the subject.
BJP sources said the party’s central election committee is expected to meet on Monday to finalise candidates for the February 7 election and a separate parliamentary board meeting would discuss Bedi’s bigger role.
Many senior BJP leaders see a compelling reason to make Bedi the face of the Delhi BJP to take on the aggressive former chief minister Kejriwal. The AAP leader has been giving the BJP sleepless nights by repeatedly raising the leadership issue and calling it a contest between him and BJP leader Jagdish Mukhi, a 72-year-old leader.
In case the party projects Bedi as the CM candidate, it would be a departure from the party’s recent strategy of going to polls in states without projecting a specific face for the main job.
Party leaders in favour of such a shift in strategy say the move would be justified because Delhi is likely to be a two-horse race between the BJP and AAP, unlike the multi-cornered fight in Maharashtra, Haryana, J&K and Jharkhand. Also, the AAP does not face the kind of anti-incumbency the non-BJP governments in these four states faced.