New Delhi: Kiran Bedi says she's ready for what could be the fight of a lifetime. "I'm ready to fight Kejriwal directly in his constituency, I don't care if I lose," Ms Bedi, 65, told NDTV today. Indeed, Ms Bedi, who joined the BJP yesterday, will be used to counter Arvind Kejriwal, the chief of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in next month's election in Delhi. (Kiran Bedi's 6 'P' Formula For Solving Delhi's Problems)
Till 2011, Ms Bedi and Mr Kejriwal were at the centre of gravity of the anti-corruption movement that was fronted by Gandhian Anna Hazare. Their partnership ended when Mr Kejriwal chose to found the Aam Aadmi Party or AAP in 2012, a decision derided publicly by Anna and Ms Bedi, who felt the anti-graft campaign should remain apolitical. (Policing, Activism and Now, Politics)
Before it fizzled out, the campaign roused middle class India and forced political parties to declare their interest in combating venality. A new law was cleared to create a Lokpal or national ombudsman to investigate and punish government servants for corruption. (Arvind Kejriwal Hits Out At Kiran Bedi, Shazia Ilmi For Negative Politics Comments)
The BJP has been non-committal on whether it will declare Ms Bedi as its presumptive chief minister against Mr Kejriwal, who is his party's candidate for the top elected post in Delhi. "The party will decide," said Ms Bedi, though yesterday, at her induction ceremony into the BJP, she stressed "forty years of experience in serving the people", a flaunting of her leadership credentials. (Old Tweets Against PM Modi Influenced by Media, Says Kiran Bedi)
Ms Bedi says her decision to enter politics lies in the "revival of hope" generated by the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On Twitter, she has been challenged to explain her new admiration of him, given her earlier sharp criticisms. "Life evolves, changes. I admire him as an administrator," she told NDTV. (Former Aam Aadmi Party leader Shazia Ilmi Joins the BJP)
Delhi votes on February 7. Results will be declared three days later. Mr Kejriwal wants Delhi to give him another chance as chief minister despite his decision a year ago to abbreviate his term just 49 days after taking office, a move he has publicly regretted as a mistake.