BJP is trying to
address the twin issues of middle class concerns and youth preferences by
inducting Kiran Bedi, a former IPS officer who also happens to be India’s first
woman IPS officer, a social activist running two non-governmental organizations
(NGOs) and a former colleague of Arvind Kejriwal in ‘India Against Corruption’,
an outfit that was formed by coming together of civil society activists to
launch the anti-corruption movement of 2011.
And it is based on perceptions built around her, based on the mix
of her career so far. We are yet to have any projection or assessment of Kiran
Bedi’s credentials in terms of pre-poll or leadership choice surveys.
Perceivably, Kiran Bedi has a middle class and youth connect based
on her background, her career as a police officer and her social activism
engagements. She was one of the prominent faces of the 2011 anti-corruption
She is known as someone who even took on a prime minister when Indira
Gandhi’s vehicle violated traffic rules. She had an image of a tough and honest
cop. She has been active in social sphere with her NGOs. From Amritsar to
Delhi, she took on the might of men in a patriarchal society and became India’s
first woman IPS officer. Thereafter, she made a successful career, though it
had its share of controversies, but certainly, on mass appeal, the positives carried
Like, as it is seen, followers of the honest of the lot are
victimized by the System, Bedi too alleged victimization and took retirement in
2007 before her time after she was bypassed and a junior officer Y. S. Dadwal was
appointed Delhi Police Commissioner.
A life with developments that appeal to the middle class and to
Add to it the element that Bedi’s victimization came when there
were Congress governments, both at Centre and in Delhi.
The added benefit is, being a women candidate - BJP will look to
further mobilize the women voters to its fold – building on Narendra Modi’s popularity
with women voters.
With Kiran Bedi, BJP strategists would be hoping to appeal to
these three votebanks – middle class, youth and women.
The only catch is – Kiran Bedi’s elevation is based on perceptions
around her with almost no time and no exercises to taste how these perceptions
play out in the electoral arena. She was made the commander of the final stage
of the battle when elections were already announced and were just 22 days away.
It may work for BJP – or it may backfire.
After all, her criticism of Arvind Kejriwal on joining politics,
her criticism of Narendra Modi and BJP in past, then her new-found love for BJP
and her steadfast appreciation of Narendra Modi coupled with controversies like
allegation of producing inflated airfares and allegations of subversion of
rules in allocating medical seat to her daughter are the issues perceived
negatively by many from the middle class and young age-groups, male or female -
especially the educated of the lot.
A BJP majority in the Delhi Assembly Election 2015 would depend on
how such voters assess Bedi’s prospects - based on her present and past.
Watch out for February 10, the counting day.