On 19th January, 2015, when Kiran Bedi was appointed as the BJP’s Chief Ministerial candidate for Delhi, most people viewed it as a masterstroke by Amit Shah, who has been the principle strategist and brains behind BJP’s winning streak in 2014.
However, over the past 10 days, it seems as if the strategy has yielded a mixed bag. I would go one step ahead and say that, it is tilting more towards the negative than the positive with the series of gaffes and U-Turns that she has been making. The biggest irony and contributor towards that tilt would be her joining politics, after investing decades in criticizing politicians and labelling them as thieves. The media and her political opponents have gone all out in digging up her past and exposing her U-Turns. So, all bedi has done in the last one week, is defend her erstwhile actions and positions and made politically immature statements and U-Turns.
The political immaturity displayed by the AAP’s and BJP’s Delhi CM candidates in the run up to the elections is baffling.
Arvind Kejriwal comes across as someone, who is slightly more mature than Kiran Bedi but that can be attributed to his being in full time politics for over 2 years.
Now lets look at the comments made by Kejriwal in the past couple of weeks.
- Wont stop dharnas even if I am elected again.
- Take bribes but still vote for our party.
Also, the way he cried foul over not been invited for R-Day parade just makes matters worse as it comes across as a classic case of sour grapes.
Even Kejriwal is not exempt from making U-Turns. The two most striking examples would be joining active politics after vowing never to and accepting external support from the congress even after swearing on his children.
Bedi’s comments demand a bifurcation into gaffes and U-Turns. Let us go with her U-Turns first shall we?
- CM of Gujarat has a right to fast for communal harmony. But what if he first planned to reach out to families in need of healing? (15 Sep, 2011)
- Modi as per SIT may be passing the legal exam but its yet to pass prevailing perception of serious incidents which occurred under his watch. (10 April, 2012)
- One day, NaMo needs to respond with clarity about riots massacre, despite courts clearing him so far. (16 Mar, 2013)
- Considerable difference between Uttarakhand lokayukta drafted by General Khanduri’s state govt (then) and now by NaMo now. Former was stronger. (03 April, 2013)
- Key question for April 9 FICCI event for NaMO be: Why has Gujarat passed a ‘controlled’ lokayukt? Let’s see if some dare to? (5 April, 2013)
- It will be a shame on both main national parties if they unite to keep political funding out of RTI. Neither deserve our vote. (9 May, 2013)
The above comments were made only a couple of years ago. So, what changed? Because none of the questions that she raised above have been answered in reality. In addition to it, hardly any progress on those fronts have taken place. The most bewildering U-Turn was her admission that she did not tow Indira Gandhi’s car and that it was actually towed by a sub-inspector of her unit.
Now, time for her gaffes and politically immature statements.
- If Kejriwal wants an invitation to the R-Day parade, then he should join the BJP.
- I am not an expert on the BJP or the RSS.
- I would think here is an organisation (RSS) which kept India together, which has kept India neat.
- I am the moment of the moment.
- I think he is playing sob sob.
- I have filed my nomination and I have cleared my first examination with flying colours… No error has been found in my nomination papers. I have got first class first, gold medal.
In an interview to Sreenivasan Jain on NDTV dated 21st January, 2015, she prevaricated when she was asked about her opinion on the RSS stance of a Hindu Rashtra. She in fact, went ahead and termed RSS as ‘the world’s largest social organization’.
The BJP has probably realized the situation getting more and more precarious by the day and thus is on the backfoot. This explains why Bedi is on ‘voice rest’, why 14 Union ministers are campaigning in Delhi and why Arun Jaitley, the finance minister of our country despite the budget coming up in a couple of weeks is holding meetings every day. Obvious signs of nervousness.
The assembly elections in Maharasthra, Jharkhand and Haryana were more or less a cakewalk for the BJP with each of the above state facing serious anti-incumbency and/or corruption issues. Modi alone was enough to single-handedly sweep the above three states and make huge in-roads in Jammu & Kashmir. But now, Kejriwal poses a serious threat to BJP and could possibly be the person who breaks their winning streak.