New Delhi: Jumping to Kiran Bedi's defence, the BJP on Tuesday termed Arvind Kejriwal's open debate as a cheap gimmick aimed at garnering cheap publicity.
“It is nothing but a gimmick to gain cheap publicity, if you want to debate, do it on floor of Assembly,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said, adding, “Development will defeat drama.”
The BJP also termed Kiran Bedi as 'Iron Woman' while terming Kejriwal as 'I-Run Man'.
The BJP was forced to shield Bedi after Kejriwal tried to turn the Delhi contest into a clash of personalities between him Bedi and Congress' Ajay Maken by challenging them for a open debate on issues concerning Delhi.
Maken had accepted the challenge. He tweeted:
— Ajay Maken (@ajaymaken) January 20, 2015
Maken later said, "This will be a healthy tradition. I believe a structured debate should take place in a mutually accepted TV channel or agency moderated by a mutually accepted anchor."
With Maken jumping into the 'for debate' bandwagon, all eyes were on whether Bedi will also accept the challenge for a pre-poll debate before the BJP came out rejecting the proposition.
Earlier, Bedi had said that she is ready for a challenge but rebuffed his demand for a debate ahead of the February 7 assembly elections.
Speaking to reporters, Bedi said, “I'm here for good governance. Arvind believes in debate but I believe in delivery. We will debate in the floor of the house after the elections.”
“My strength is delivery, my strength is innovation, my strength is listening to people...this is in totality of what is called good governance,” she added
On Kejriwal's contention that the fight in Delhi is between the good and the bad (AAP is good, BJP bad), Bedi said, “This is exactly the type of negativity I don't practice. I am for politics of development, growth, inclusiveness, respect, civility, listening...I have joined politics on people's call, I have joined politics to give back to the city I love the most.”
Bedi also responded to questions on Kejriwal's tweet that she had blocked on the popular micro-blogging site.
.@thekiranbedi Kiranji, i used to follow u on twitter. Now, u have blocked me on twitter. Kindly unblock me.
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) January 20, 2015
Bedi said, “I blocked him 15 months ago when he called himself an anarchist. He was spreading negativity and his words were polluting. I had blocked some others too.”
Late yesterday night, the BJP announced Kiran Bedi as its CM candidate and fielded her from Krisha Nagar constituency in East Delhi. Krishna Nagar is a BJP stronghold, Dr Harshvardhan had won the seat many times before he successfully contested the Lok Sabha polls.
The BJP's decision was on expected lines even though it deviated from the party's recent practice of not announcing its CM candidate like Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Haryana.
Bedi's elevation has caused heartburn in some party leaders but the AAP's poll campaign centred around Kejriwal as CM candidate appears to have forced the BJP to present a strong candidate as his opponent.