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 movement.
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 more wait.
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 the youngsters!
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.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey–/