With the upcoming Delhi Assembly elections set to be a triangular battle between the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress, the BJP has played its trump card by inducting former IPS officer Kiran Bedi into the party and naming her as the chief ministerial candidate.
Formerly a member of ‘Team Anna’ and part of Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement, Bedi’s experience during her tenure as the IPS officer in the national capital also makes her a popular choice among Delhiites.
With Bedi’s tough, upright and honest image, BJP has an edge over its opponents and is trying to woo the voters and come back to power with a thumping majority after missing the boat narrowly in the last elections.
Her image as someone who can take on politicians or wrongdoers alike is surely going to win her brownie points among the people and her credibility will help the BJP woo voters in the national capital.
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi continues to be the star campaigner of the party, Bedi’s induction into the party shortly before elections has given a major boost to the BJP’s image, at least among voters.
The party is also trying to cash-in on her image and her administrative abilities as a female IPS officer whose stint in the national capital will come handy in addressing the issue of women safety which has become a key area of concern.
Bedi’s induction into the party is also being seen as an attempt by the BJP to counter her former ‘Team Anna’ colleague and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal.
The fact that the BJP has declared Bedi as the CM candidate despite the presence of several experienced leaders in the Delhi BJP clearly indicates that the party is attempting to project a 'non-politician', credible face to win the elections.
The fact that dissent within the party was crushed to project Bedi as CM candidate with the approval of the top leadership also shows that the BJP is leaving no stone unturned to win the elections.
The clean and upright image of Bedi is expected to give her an edge over her political rivals including Kejriwal.
She is famously known as ‘Crane Bedi’ for supporting her officer’s decision to tow away a wrongly-parked car, belonging to the office of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi, in Delhi in 1982. Gandhi was not in the country at the time of the incident.
Her faceoff with lawyers in the 1980s had also dominated headlines and the tiff between the two continues even today with the latter urging people not to vote for Bedi. In fact, her office was vandalised on February 2 by a group of lawyers protesting against her.
Bedi's honest and upright image had also, reportedly, cost her the post of Delhi Police Commissioner as she was not known to bow before the wishes of politicians.
Born in 1949, Bedi joined the Indian Police Services in 1972 and is the country’s first woman IPS officer. She was also the recipient of President’s police medal in 1979.
Bedi was appointed as IG in Delhi Prisons in 1993 and reforms introduced by her in Tihar Jail had won her the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1994.
She is also the first woman police officer to be appointed as the United Nations civilian police adviser.
She was also given the important responsibility of managing the traffic during the high-profile Asian Games in 1982.
A national level tennis player, Bedi was a lecturer at Khalsa College for women in Amritsar for two years before she became an IPS officer. She earned a law degree in 1998 and has a PhD from the Social Sciences Department of IIT Delhi (1993).