New Delhi: After her clanging defeat in the Delhi election, Kiran Bedi does not appear to be in the mood for finding a new role within the party she joined just weeks ago. Ms Bedi, 65, has not been seen at the BJP headquarters in the capital since she lost her bid for Chief Minister. The BJP won just three of a possible 70 seats; all the others were taken by Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
Mr Kejriwal’s colleagues in AAP have described Ms Bedi as “an elder sister” who they respect. “AAP ki bade behen hain.. AAP lein jaye” (she is AAP’s elder sister, let AAP take her), was the sarcastic assessment of a BJP Parliamentarian who did not wish to be named.
Ms Bedi met Mr Kejriwal, who took oath as Chief Minister on Saturday, at a reception hosted by the Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present; so was Home Minister Rajnath Singh. That was reportedly the closest encounter Ms Bedi has shared with top leaders of her party since the Delhi debacle.
Today, she skipped a party meeting called to select which of the three state-law makers will serve as leader of the BJP in the legislature.
Senior BJP leaders have refused to comment on record about Ms Bedi’s future prospects. When she was inducted into the party and announced as the presumptive Chief Minister, other veteran leaders of the BJP from Delhi made their resentment clear. Some privately blame Ms Bedi for a vitriolic campaign studded with personal remarks against Mr Kejriwal, who refused to retaliate. The two politicians worked together in the India Against Corruption campaign a few years ago, that was fronted by activist Anna Hazare.
In a blog this week, Ms Bedi took a swipe at Mr Kejriwal over his promises for cheap water and power for Delhi. She said Delhi had failed to understand that “there are no free lunches.”