PM Narendra Modi with BJP Chief Amit Shah and former top cop Kiran Bedi in New Delhi on Thursday (Press Trust of India photo)
When Kiran Bedi
was welcomed to the BJP, party president Amit Shah said, "She will contest the election." He offered no hints to prop up or counter the theory that Ms Bedi, 65, will run against Arvind Kejriwal, the head of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
But Ms Bedi already has a flaming advantage over others in her party. She is so far the only candidate that has been declared for the Delhi election next month.
With exactly three weeks left for campaigning, the Congress has selected 64 candidates for the 70 seats in the Delhi Assembly. Its most recent list of contestants, shared yesterday, includes Sarmishta
Mukherjee, whose father, Pranab Mukherjee, is the President of the country. Mr Kejriwal's AAP has finalised all 70 and most have been touring neighbourhoods to seek support. The BJP has - at least publicly - only offered up Ms Bedi.
Opponents may pick on that as a sign of internal dissent and politicking over who gets what. Idle concerns, says the BJP. "Let me give you an analogy. No one goes on their honeymoon before the wedding. Elections have been announced, there is a process we have to follow. This is not a one-man show like some others," said Prabhat Jha.
The BJP's due diligence means that its candidates - after being shortlisted by an election committee - must be endorsed by the party's highest decision-making body, its parliamentary board. That means its members may have to wait for a few more days before discovering whether they have made the cut.
Campaigning must end on February 5. That doesn't give politicians much time to convince voters that they're it.