BJP's 'masterstroke' of bringing Kiran Bedi boomerangs
It was seen as a masterstroke when she was anointed as BJP's Chief Ministerial candidate just three weeks ahead of the assembly polls to counter AAP's Arvind Kejriwal but India's first woman IPS officer Kiran Bedi failed to change the party's fortune and now herself stares at an uncertain political future.
New Delhi: It was seen as a masterstroke when she was anointed as BJP's Chief Ministerial candidate just three weeks ahead of the assembly polls to counter AAP's Arvind Kejriwal but India's first woman IPS officer Kiran Bedi failed to change the party's fortune and now herself stares at an uncertain political future.
The 65-year-old Bedi, who had caught people's imagination as a young police officer here in 1980s and was a key member of the Team Anna during the Lokpal movement, had a poll campaign where all BJP top brass including Prime Minister Narendra Modi canvassed for her.
However, Bedi failed to draw crowds at her rallies and her campaign looked lacklustre largely due to alleged non- cooperation of the Delhi BJP leaders. They saw Bedi as someone who was "parachuted" and devoid of grassroot support.
Some Delhi BJP leaders found Bedi less accommodative and more authoritative leading to internal dissent against her in the party though nothing came out in the open.
Bedi came under closer media scrutiny after being made BJP's CM candidate and some of her earlier claims like removing former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's car in 1982 when she was DCP Traffic in Delhi police fell flat.
Bedi was attacked on the social media for her "flip flops" as people reminded her about her tweets in 2011 when she was critical of Modi. While joining BJP, Bedi had said Modi's inspirational leadership was the reason why she chose BJP.
She was also accused of being in touch with the BJP during the anti-graft movement as she had refused to hold a protest outside then BJP President Nitin Gadkari's residence in August 2012 as part of India Against Corruption's decision to gherao the residences of several political leaders on the coal block allocation scam.
Though Bedi promised not to indulge in personal attacks, she made scathing onsalughts on Kejriwal as the campaign peaked and went on to describe her former Team Anna colleague as a "liar" and someone whose influence was "toxic".
Bedi, who had worked closely with Kejriwal during the LokPal movement, split with him after he announced plan to form the Aam Aadmi Party on October 2, 2012. Bedi had severely criticised Kejriwal then saying she would continue to work with Anna Hazare and would never join any political party.
Kejriwal had offered Bedi to become Chief Ministerial face of AAP in the 2013 assembly polls but she declined the offer.
During the 2014 general election, Bedi publicly supported BJP and Modi and regularly posted tweets in his favour.
After Lok Sabha polls, Bedi kept supporting Modi government and gave indication of her willingness to join BJP.
Bedi was born on 9 June 1949 in Amritsar in a Punjabi business family.
Since her school days, Bedi was an active member of National Cadet Corps (NCC) and used to participate in various extra-curricular activities.
Bedi graduated in 1968, with a BA (Honours) in English, from Government College for Women at Amritsar. The same year, she won the NCC Cadet Officer Award. In 1970, she obtained a Master's degree in political science from Punjab University, Chandigarh.
Bedi joined the Khalsa College for Women in Amritsar as a lecturer in 1970.
She joined the Indian Police Service in 1972 becoming the first woman IPS officer of the country. After completing her training at the National Police Academy at Mount Abu, Rajasthan, she was posted as the Sub-Divisional Police Officer at the Chanakyapuri Police Station here.
She had also become the first woman in uniform to lead the all male contingent of the Delhi Police at the Republic Day Parade in 1975.
Bedi was a tennis player during her college days and participated in various national level competitions. Between 1965 and 1978. In 1972, Bedi married fellow tennis player Brij Bedi
Known as a distinguished police officer, Bedi as DCP (Traffic) during the 1982 Asian Games had clamped down on errant motorists with a heavy hand. Her team towed improperly parked vehicles using six tow trucks and it had earned her the nickname "Crane Bedi".
Bedi, as Director General of Tihar, had initiated various
Reforms at Tihar Jail which gained worldwide acclaim.