(Ashutosh joined the Aam Aadmi Party in January 2014. The former journalist took on former Union minister Kapil Sibal and Health Minister Harsh Vardhan in the national election from Chandni Chowk in Delhi.)
So Narendra Modi has finally conceded defeat to Arvind Kejriwal.
The BJP and the Prime Minister were very confident that with the Modi wave, Delhi would be an easy win. They had reason to feel confident. After a massive win in the parliamentary elections, the BJP had a cakewalk in Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand. The party had also tasted success with good numbers in J&K. The Modi juggernaut seemed to be unstoppable. But the 10th of January broke the myth. It was the day when the BJP’s biggest trump card failed miserably. Despite tall claims and a media blitz, the BJP could not gather more than 25,000 people for their rally in Delhi. This was therefore time for panic in their camp.
The party got desperate. It started looking for alternatives – and in Kiran Bedi, they found a possible answer. Bedi the agitationist became Bedi the politician. She joined the BJP yesterday with a lot of fanfare.
While watching the press conference that announced her induction, I was reminded of Modi’s words which he uttered recently with a lot of disdain for Kejriwal. At his Delhi rally last week, Modi had said that those who are suited to do dharnas (agitations) should do just that, they can’t be trusted with governance.
Now, may I ask in all humility, who is Kiran Bedi? What are the credentials that made her an all-India figure in recent times? Before joining the BJP, she was part of Team Anna. She had participated in every dharna done by Anna . She was there when Anna sat on a dharna at Jantar Mantar. She was with Anna and Arvind at Ram Lila ground when they went on their hunger strike for the Lokpal Bill.
She caricatured top BJP leaders when they went to meet Anna at the Ram Lila ground. Kiran was so rude in her mimicking of them -performed on stage- that all these leaders got embarrassed. The matter was raised in parliament also. MPs were enraged and felt insulted. In the eyes of all politicians and political parties, Ms Bedi was an activist and integral part of Anna and his team which specialised in agitations. So my question to the BJP now is – what has happened to Modi that he has to hire the services of an agitationist who, in his own words, can’t govern? Has he changed his views in five days?
Bedi’s admission in the party proves what AAP has been saying for a long time – that the BJP doesn’t have a leader of stature to match Kejriwal and his team. Satish Upadhyaya, the party president in Delhi, is embroiled in countering serious charges of corruption levelled by AAP. Dr Harsh Vardhan is tainted with the removal of an honest officer of AIIMS who was fighting against corruption. Jagdish Mukhi is too light-weight. Vijay Goel was chucked out last year itself. There is nobody else of any stature. The BJP was struggling to find a match for Arvind, and that is the reason that the BJP wants to fill the leadership void in the party by borrowing leaders from outside.
The BJP has been trying to persuade Shazia Ilmi, formerly of AAP, to join the party. She again was part of the movement that was centered on agitations and demonstrations. Why does the BJP need leaders incubated by AAP when it does not have a high opinion about us and what we stand for? Does this not prove the fact that the BJP in Delhi needs “icing” from AAP to show some semblance of credibility?
If the BJP has to be handed over to Kiran Bedi and Shazia Ilmi, then is it not correct to say that the BJP has now turned into Kejriwal’s B-team?