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Want to contest against Kejriwal in New Delhi seat, says Kiran Bedi

A day after she joined the Bharatiya Janata Party, former top cop Kiran Bedi has said she wants to take on former chief minister Arvind Kejriwal in his constituency New Delhi.

delhi Updated: Jan 16, 2015 17:06 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
BJP,Kiran Bedi,Arvind Kejriwal

A day after joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Kiran Bedi said on Friday she was ready to contest against Aam Aadmi Party chief and her former Team Anna colleague, Arvind Kejriwal, in the Delhi assembly polls if her party wants.

Bedi rebutted AAP's criticism over changing her stand on not joining politics, saying she was free to make her own choices and her "aversion" was gone due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership.

"The constituency selection is always a decision of party. I will go by their decision. If they want me to fight against him, I will do so. Because they know better than I do. They have not brought me to lose, they have brought me to win," the former IPS officer said when asked whether she is likely to be pitted against Kejriwal in the upcoming polls.

The AAP had on Thursday termed her joining BJP as "shocking".

"It is sad and shocking that Bedi, who had been maintaining that she will always remain apolitical and keep raising the issues of people, has joined the BJP. Our best wishes are with her," party leader Sanjay Singh had said.

Kejriwal had also taken a subtle dig at Bedi saying he had also tried to convince her to take a plunge into politics.

"I do not wish to go into the past. I am in present and looking towards future. I have a right to make my own choices and nobody can question that. I want to lead my life as per my own wish," Bedi retorted on Friday.

Kejriwal and Bedi were part of the core team of social activist Anna Hazare who had spearheaded a massive agitation to press for the passage of jan lokpal bill in Parliament. The two had parted ways in 2012 after Kejriwal's decision to float a political party.

"I am not here to win or lose. I am here to see that the party wins. If I win I am excellent, if I don't win I still win. I have so much to go back to," said Bedi.

She, however, did not respond to queries whether her entry in the BJP is likely to play a gamechanger.

"Time will tell. We need a stable government in Delhi. A year has passed and we have paid a huge price," she said.

Bedi, who had been hailing Modi and supporting BJP through her Twitter posts since the start of campaign for Lok Sabha polls last year, said, "The change of leadership made me change my mind. The way Narendra Modi is changing the world around. The way NRIs are flocking into the country to invest now and the way the nation's hopes have been revived, the aversion has gone"

The former IPS officer was inducted into the BJP fold in the presence of party president Amit Shah and Union ministers Arun Jaitley and Harsh Vardhan at the party's headquarters on Thursday.

The BJP is set to decide on January 19 on Bedi's role in the upcoming Delhi elections, but at a press conference on Thursday she dropped broad hints that she sees herself as a candidate for the top job.

"I want to make Delhi the capital of this country in the real sense. Delhi ko dil banana hai. Whatever experience, time and energy I have, I will devote to the nation and I am very happy the BJP has given me the opportunity to do so," she had said.

"My aim is to see that Delhi gets a stable, clear-headed, honest and courageous government."

These remarks were picked up as signals revealing her desire to become the next chief minister of Delhi after the February 7 poll if the BJP fares better than the 31 seats it managed in the 2013 election.

Shah had not named the constituency she would be contesting from and left it to the BJP parliamentary board to take a call on the next chief minister.

"Every BJP worker has the ability to become chief minister. Bedi is also a BJP worker now," Shah had said.

First Published: Jan 16, 2015 12:41 IST