Arvind Kejriwal VS Kiran Bedi: Where Do They Stand?

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Bharatiya Janata Party chief, Amit Shah, at a late-night press conference on January 19 announced former IPS officer, Kiran Bedi, as the party’s chief ministerial candidate. While the BJP has gained an attractive face in Bedi, her promotion as the leader of the party has left many old party workers dejected and dispirited. Bedi will contest from the Krishna Nagar constituency, traditionally a BJP stronghold, so that she can focus on campaigning for the party, Mr. Shah said.

The announcement has landed Ms. Bedi in opposition to her former colleague, Mr. Arvind Kejriwal (chief ministerial candidate of Aam Aadmi Party). It’s a one-on-one between the former members of the India Against Corruption Movementled by Anna Hazare, even though, she won’t be contesting directly against Kejriwal.

Before BJP’s announcement, Kejriwal was on cloud nine. But Bedi’s nomination for the CM’s position has neutralised the situation.

Recently a poll was conducted by India TV-C-Voter and ABP News-Nielsen. Some of the key findings of the poll are:

  • Kejriwal continues to be the most preferred CM candidate with 47 percent of people backing him;
  • 44 percent of people are keen to see Bedi as the next Delhi CM;
  • Among women respondents, Kejriwal was more popular with about 50 percent of people preferring him while Bedi had 41.4 percent support;
  • According to the snap poll, a majority of respondents (44 percent) said the former cop should have joined AAP, while 23 percent said it did not matter which party she joined. Around 33 percent said she had done the right thing by joining BJP. According to the poll by India TV-C-Voter, BJP may win 37 seats in the 70-seat Delhi assembly. While AAP may acquire 26 seats, two less than the last time. Congress, a distant third, may have 7 seats.

I personally believe that there is a 50-50 chance between the two. On one hand, Kejriwal has a strong base among the under-privileged sections of Delhi and on the other hand, Bedi has a strong track record of powerful administration.

Bedi is a powerful titan with her crystal-clear prospects. She has been stressing on the “6Ps” (parents, politics, police, prosecution, prison and press) and “6Ss” (suraksha [safety], swachchata [cleanliness], saksharta [literacy], saksham [able], sanskari [Culture], and sab ki dilli [Delhi for all]) plans to make Delhi safer and healthier. She is likely to muster the votes of the middle class (who is probably to ditch AAP) and the lower class as her plans focus upon regularising the unauthorised colonies and making Delhi slum-free respectively. She is a promising personality among women voters. Women’s safety is going to be Bedi’s top agenda if voted to power, she said.

While Kejriwal has wooed the capital’s youth by promising 800,000 jobs, vocational training, new colleges and Wi-Fi across the city, the AAP convener also promised to better the sports infrastructure. Kejriwal further announced a loan scheme for students passing out from Delhi’s schools and wanting to pursue diploma or degree courses. He said no student would be denied loan. The centre-stage of his schemes and plans is the “solutions to the problems of a common man”.

But there are things yet to be learned by both of them. Kejriwal must learn to work with patience. He must strive to fulfil his promises rather than going on dharna even after acquiring the position of the CM. Kiran Bedi’s knowledge of bureaucracy and police administration is likely to be an advantage. Her pristine ideas and stand on various issues is something which Kejriwal should learn from instead of going for “anarchist” ideas.

Induction of Bedi in BJP has enhanced the face value of the party. It is believed that “strong determination is the garb of a strong personality”. Similarly, Bedi’s firmness is her attire and she remains intact to her stand of delivering her best. But many are considering her to be an opportunist as she was a member of Hazare’s campaign but joined BJP and rejected AAP’s proposal to join the party. On the other hand, Kejriwal has stuck to his agenda which makes him the “honey-bunch” of the people.

Riya Kakkar

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