The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Saturday denied a direct contest between its chief Arvind Kejriwal and Bharatiya Janata Party's Delhi face Kiran Bedi, as the saffron party has not yet named her as the chief ministerial candidate. "She (Bedi) has been put up by the BJP to shield Modi and save him from an embarrassment in case of a defeat in the elections," said senior AAP leader Yogendra Yadav.
AAP leaders also denied that the Delhi elections, scheduled on February 7, would be a Kejriwal versus Bedi affair.
Earlier, AAP went all out to project a direct fight between Kejriwal and BJP veteran Jagdish Mukhi. However, when asked why it not willing to accept a direct face-off between Kejriwal and Bedi, journalist-turned-politician Ashutosh said, "When the lieutenant governor had called all the parties to discuss government formation in the national capital, two leaders from the BJP went - Harsh Vardhan and Mukhi. Hence, there could have been no other face." Ashutosh "dared" BJP to declare Bedi as the party's CM candidate.
Another senior leader Sanjay Singh said by bringing Bedi in the party for the Delhi elections, the BJP has conceded defeat. "It seems the BJP has already conceded defeat, as it was evident in Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Haryana and Jammu Kashmir, the BJP contested elections by taking ModiRs s name. In Delhi, they have suddenly realised it won't work. So they brought in Kiran Bedi," Singh said.
However, AAP attacked Bedi and questioned her stand on various issues such as providing full statehood to Delhi and bringing political parties under the purview of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Bedi, a former IPS officer, had told a daily on Friday that full statehood is "not a central issue" for the BJP at present and instead women's safety is the primary issue in the national capital.
Singh said, "When she was an activist she had raised a few questions, including bringing political parties under RTI Act and providing full statehood to Delhi. Now, has she got the answers to those questions? She should also clarify her stance on full statehood."