NEW DELHI: The BJP’s Chief Ministerial candidate in Delhi, Kiran Bedi, attended the Republic Day parade today. Wearing a white raincoat in the wet morning, Ms Bedi was seen seated in the front row of the VIP enclosure.
At one point, a person was seen holding an umbrella over her head – which left her open to much criticism on the social media.
The Centre’s invitation to the former top police officer is expected to create a controversy, coming as it does in the wake of her party’s recent altercation with Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal over an invitation to the event.
Mr Kejriwal had not received an invitation, which he claimed was his due as a former chief minister of Delhi. The BJP had called him a “bundle of contradictions”. The party said he had shown scant respect for the parade when he was the chief minister, sitting on a dharna and disrupting the arrangements ahead of the celebrations last year.
“As Chief Minister, Mr Kejriwal wanted to disrupt the Republic Day celebrations, as a former CM he wants to attend it,” BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli had said.
Another spokesperson, Sambit Patra, said, “The Republic Day celebration is for the common man. Right from the beginning, Mr Kejriwal was against VIP culture. Now he says he will only attend Republic Day on invitation?”
Ms Bedi had earlier tweeted saying she was the first woman to lead a Delhi Police contingent in 1975.
“As Jan 26 draws near reminiscing about the time I led the 1975 R-Day parade of Delhi Police contingent 40 yrs ago,” the tweet read. “To make Republic Day Parade perfect we practiced marching for hours daily, in winter fog with no visibility!”