NEW DELHI: Actually, it was to provide heft to the BJP campaign for the February 7 Delhi Assembly polls that Kiran Bedi was drafted into the saffron ranks,with just days remaining for the D-Day.
The twist in the Capital contest also brought the former IPS officer-turned-politico under fierce attack from the opponents, unenthusiastic response from local leadership and intense glare of the media.
To facilitate Bedi’s transformation into the political avatar, the BJP deputed senior leaders like Arun Jaitley and Nirmala Sitharaman and Satish Upadhyay to assist her. BJP chief Amit Shah is also in touch with Bedi.
While, many in the party felt that Bedi was still in the “activist mode,” it was left for these leaders to bring about synergy between their CM candidate and party’s ideological pining and even aligning her vision with the party’s ideas.
Union Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman cancelled her bilateral trade talks in Sweden to assist 65-year-old Bedi and party’s electoral campaign.
If both of them are not able to meet during the day, they stay in touch over phone discussing the issues to be played up and helping the CM candidate with feedback from the round.
Based on the feedback, Bedi and the BJP decided to play up twin issue of Bedi’s connect with the women and her strong administrative experience.
“Bedi has been attracting attention especially from the women. While, we got feedback that people were looking up to her because of her proven administrative track record. She knows the Delhi inside out. Moreover, people felt that she can be able to control corruption at levels which affect them the most,” Sitharaman said.
The last minute decision to bring in Bedi was to bolster party support base among the middle class and as a counter against anti-corruption crusader image of Kejriwal.
With a week left for the campaign, the BJP’s current strategy is clear.
Bedi is focusing on talking about her administrative experience, ranging from her reforms in Tihar jail to setting right the capital’s traffic woes. She also talks about her vision - 6Ps and 5Ss - for the capital.
Sources said Bedi’s handling of media also came up for discussion in the party. After two “bad” interviews, Bedi is focusing on her campaigning while the party is doing the talking.
With merely five days left for the campaign. the jury is still out to find if Bedi magic is working for the party.