Whenever the history of women empowerment is narrated, Dr. Kiran Bedi’s name has always emerged as the undisputed queen. Apart from accomplishing the landmark achievement of becoming the first women IPS officer, she has a sea of other laurels locked up in her cupboard. A tennis champion, Mrs. Bedi was awarded with the president police medal in 1979 and the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay award in 1994 for her reforms in Tihar Jail. Crowned with formidable high sounding titles such as ‘Crane Bedi’ and ‘Iron lady’, she was also the first woman to be appointed the civilian police advisor in the UN.
But every life on earth has stumbled over some mistakes and Mrs. Bedi remains no exception. Accepting BJP’s offer for the chief ministerial candidate for Delhi assembly elections which dragged her away from her administrative comfort zone has created a dent in her image which she will surely regret as the only mistake of her life.
‘RAJNEETI KEECHAD HAI’
Her report card as an experienced bureaucrat and social activists have always shined with gem remarks but politics and political leadership is a different genre of complex administration which demands a mental approach where the psychology of voters is appealed. Perhaps, this was not her cup of tea and her decision to go beyond her comfort zone did not prove to be a smart choice.
Given her amateur understanding of politics, her campaigning strategy was shrouded with deep rooted flaws. She could not shield herself tactically from the ‘opportunistic’ gunshots by the opposition which rested on her past alliance with Arvind Kejriwal during Anna Hazare movement against corruption and her astonishing leap in BJP against the old friend.
Moreover, her campaigning was labeled as ‘dictatorial’ by media as they claimed that the politeness aspect was missing. I was dumbstruck at her fairly rude behavior with the renowned NDTV India journalist Ravish Kumar while giving an interview which was repeatedly telecasted all through the day. While on an enthusiastic padyatra she was heard responding to her overzealous volunteers, “don’t crowd around me, give me space. I don’t need your help to walk.”
The downfall accelerated when she refused to share stage with Arvind Kejriwal for a public debate and all of the Bhajpa members resorted to the idea of ‘five questions a day’ essentially a failed initiative.
While on the way to the elections, BJP equally contributed with unintentional mistakes among which the most significant remains the declaration of Kiran Bedi as the CM candidate just fifteen days before the voting, ignoring some stalwarts which eventually gave birth to internal dissent in the party for parachuting her in at such crucial stage.
A closer scrutiny points a tactical picture where Kiran Bedi appears as a victim of power politics. She was thoughtfully brought when AAP stronghold was consolidating so that even if BJP looses, the image of prime minister and the ‘Modi Wave’ remains unchallenged. An important factor was also her sidelined role while NaMo took the charge and delivered speeches in his rallies. This painted a helpless and dependent picture of Kiran Bedi as opposed to the strong and independent Arvind Kejriwal.
DIL KE ARMAAN AASOUN ME BEH GAYE
The agony of her mistake aggravated when she lost in her very own constituency, Krishna Nagar by 2200 votes to AAP candidate S.K Bagga. This was an amusing and unexpected loss for all of us since the discussed area has remained BJP’s stronghold for a very long period. Dr. Harsh Vardhan has enjoyed five consecutive victories here. Voters didn’t attract towards Kiran Bedi partly because they were enraged by BJP for isolating Dr. Harsh Vardhan altogether, even from the post of health minister in the central cabinet. This annoyance shaped as support to AAP because it was left as an only alternative. Post results interviews captured her brimming with invincible optimism where she acknowledged her hard work and advised BJP to introspect their loss saying, “I haven’t lost. I have given my best, BJP as a party has lost.”
Her forty year career has served as an appealing inspiration for all Indians essentially all the female population of our country who have dreamt of canvassing her stiff role in the development of our nation .Suffering from the unprecedented victory of their opponents, BJP and Kiran Bedi must be realizing their mistakes but she impressively ended the race with her sportsman spirit, apologizing to our Prime Minister and Amit Shah for disappointing them with her defeat and taking full responsibility of her failure in wooing the Delhi voters. No matter she suffered a political debacle, her forty years of contribution is embedded in our fresh memories, time will heal the political scars and she will remain the Iron Lady for posterity.
Picture Credits- Google images
By Zainab Rashid