New Delhi: Brushing aside murmurs of dissent, BJP today named new entrant Kiran Bedi, a former IPS officer, as its Chief Ministerial candidate for the February seven Delhi Assembly elections. Making the announcement after a meeting of the BJP Parliamentary Board, party president Amit Shah said the decision of fielding 65-year-old Bedi was "unanimous".
He said BJP will contest the crucial polls for the 70-member Assembly under Bedi's leadership. She will contest from the Krishna Nagar seat in East Delhi, considered a BJP stronghold.
The Parliamentary Board meeting was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj among others Bedi, who has 40 years of experience as a civil servant and was actively in the anti-corruption movement spearheaded by Gandhian Anna Hazare in 2011, said she will use her vast experience entirely for Delhi.
The decision to project Bedi, who will now be pitted against her former associate and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal for the CM's post, as CM candidate marks a change of strategy by BJP which had refrained from declaring CM candidates in Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Haryana and fought state assembly elections last year projecting Modi.
Bedi joined the police service in 1972 and became the first woman IPS officer. She had held the important posts of DG at the Bureau of Police Research and evelopment before she voluntarily retired from the IPS in December 2007 at the age of 58. Her assignments included New Delhi traffic postings, Deputy Inspector General of Police in Mizoram, Advisor to the Lieutenant Governor of Chandigarh, Director General of Narcotics Control Bureau, Civilian Police Advisor for United Nations peacekeeping operations.
Known as a tough taskmaster, Bedi was popularly referred to as "Crane Bedi" for towing away Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's car for a parking rule violation. During her stint as Inspector General of Prisons in Tihar Jail (Delhi) (1993?1995), she initiated a string of measures in the management of the prison besides introducing programmes like de-addiction.
She has also set up two NGOs: the Navjyoti Delhi Police Foundation for welfare and preventative policing in 1988 which was renamed as the Navjyoti India Foundation in 2007 and the India Vision Foundation for prison reformation, drug abuse prevention and child welfare in 1994. Bedi was awarded Ramon Magsaysay award in 1994 for Government service. For work with the UN, she was awarded the United Nations medal....