New Delhi, May 23 :
A storm is brewing in the BJP with many Delhi leaders allegedly threatening to “not cooperate” and even “lose deliberately” if former top cop Kiran Bedi was named the party’s next chief ministerial nominee, party sources said.
“There is severe opposition to her (Bedi) in the party. A majority of the leaders and workers don’t want her to be the candidate for the post of CM,” a source said.
The leaders have reportedly complained to Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Delhi chief Harsh Vardhan and senior leader Nitin Gadkari against the move to prop up Bedi as then chief ministerial candidate.
“The party cadre is miffed with her (Bedi) for several reasons, including her refusal to fight assembly and Lok Sabha elections on BJP’s ticket and her anti-BJP stand during the Jan Lokpal movement in 2011.”
Bedi along with activist Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal, who later went on to form the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), had on numerous occasions, lambasted both the Congress and the BJP for not wanting to pass the bill.
“She cannot be forced upon us… we will not accept her. We want a leader who is from amongst us,” said a legislator from west Delhi who did not wish to be named.
Interestingly, the pandemonium was caused by a tweet from fake Twitter account in Gadkari’s name last month wherein Gadkari announced Bedi as the party’s chief ministerial candidate who would take on Kejriwal in Delhi.
The tweet created a massive flutter before Gadkari’s rebuttal.
However, the speculations have not stopped since and the media has been pestering Bedi as well as BJP leaders to clarify their respective stands.
Bedi, in fact, Wednesday admitted that she would accept the offer for the top job.
“I have spent 35-40 years of my life in Delhi and (now) want to devote my remaining life for its welfare,” Bedi told a TV channel.
A section of BJP’s central leadership is persistently lobbying for Bedi who, they believe, is the only person who can take on Kejriwal especially if Harsh Vardhan gets the health ministry in the Narendra Modi-led union cabinet.
Meanwhile, Harsh Vardhan, who was the party’s chief ministerial candidate ahead of the December poll, said the final decision would be taken by the central party leadership.
“The central party leadership is aware of all the developments in Delhi and the final decision will be taken by them. It’s up to them to select the right candidate for the post,” he said.
Winning 31 of the 70 assembly seats, the BJP emerged as the single largest party in Delhi under Harsh Vardhan but could not form a government as it failed to reach the halfway mark of 36.