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Will debate on the floor of assembly: Bedi's answer to AAP challenge

india Updated: Jan 21, 2015 02:10 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Delhi polls


Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal challenged Bharatiya Janata Party's Kiran Bedi for a public debate on Tuesday which the saffron party's chief ministerial candidate accepted saying she "will debate him on the floor of the house".

"@thekiranbedi congrats 4 being nominated as BJP's CM candidate. I invite u 4 a public debate moderated by neutral person n telecast by all," Kejriwal tweeted.

"It will be a good initiative for democracy if there is a debate between us on different issues. People vote in the name of religion and caste... They are not aware of issues. The debate, around 1-2 hours long should be on concrete issues," said Kejriwal.

Responding to Kejriwal's challenge, Bedi said the AAP chief believes "only in debates" while her focus is on delivery of services.

“Debate is now just two weeks away — on the floor of the House. That will be a very creative debate,” she told HT.

Kejriwal said the debate should be televised and moderated by a neutral person. “I accept the challenge but I will do it only in the Delhi assembly. Right now, I am focusing on delivery, while debate is all he (Kejriwal) has been doing,” Bedi told reporters.

Four days after she joined the BJP, Bedi was named the party's CM candidate for Delhi late on Monday in a break from the party's practice of not naming the candidate for top posts in states.

The announcement was made during a press conference addressed by party president Amit Shah.

Bedi will not be in direct contest with the AAP chief with BJP fielding former DUSU president Nupur Sharma from the New Delhi seat. HT was the first to report that Sharma may take on Kejriwal.

Kejriwal, who is very active on social media, also asked Bedi to "unblock" him on Twitter.

"@thekiranbedi Kiranji, i used to follow u on twitter. Now, u have blocked me on twitter. Kindly unblock me," he also tweeted.

Bedi hit back at Kejriwal saying she blocked him as he was "spreading negativity".

"I blocked him 15 months back when he called himself an anarchist. He was spreading negativity. Didn't want my four million followers to see negativity... It was a polluting account," said Bedi.

While Bedi will file her nomination for the Delhi polls on Wednesday from Krishna Nagar seat in east Delhi, Kejriwal tweeted he is on his way to sign the papers to fight from the New Delhi constituency. Krishna Nagar is considered a BJP stronghold.


Once upon a time in Delhi: Kiran Bedi, Arvind Kejriwal with anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare. (AFP Photo)

Bedi and Kejriwal were both members of Team Anna during social activist Anna Hazare's campaign for jan lokpal bill. They fell out over Kejriwal's decision to launch a political party and Bedi has been a staunch critic of the AAP leader since then.

In its first reaction after the announcement, Kejriwal's party had said Bedi is not a challenge to the AAP and BJP's choice will have an adverse effect on its rank and file.

"BJP has made Kiran Bedi the chief ministerial candidate so that she could be made a scapegoat as the party was not confident of its victory because of AAP's growing popularity and increasing support base. Bedi is not a challenge for AAP," senior AAP leader Somnath Bharti had said.

Delhi goes to the polls on February 7 and the votes will be counted on February 10.

Video:Kiran Bedi says 'Kejriwal believes in debate, I believe in delivery'

(With PTI inputs)