Bedi delayed, 'daughter' fills in for her

Bedi delayed, 'daughter' fills in for her

For a good 30 minutes, Kiran Bedi’s niece filled in for her at a roadshow in the BJP chief ministerial candidate's Krishna Nagar constituency on Thursday.

Bedi who has been beginning her daily electioneering with her own constituency – and then moving out to the rest of the city – had changed her plan on the on the final day of campaigning.

She went to Mangolpuri, before devoting the last hours of the campaign to Krishna Nagar.
The two other BJP leaders familiar to Krishna Nagar – Harsh Vardhan and Mahesh Girri – had also not turned up in time. So Bedi’s niece Chandini led the roadshow in a open jeep.

Party workers repeatedly announced that Kiran Bedi’s “daughter” had arrived.
“Bedi didi is delayed because of another rally. She will join us soon. But her daughter Chandni Bedi is amidst us,” a party worker said.

Chandni, meanwhile, played the role to perfection by accepting garlands, obliging voters with autographs and waving to the crowd.

But several voters on the route said they were disappointed by Bedi’s absence.
“They made a fool of us. I have been waiting with flowers and garlands for a long time, but Bedi did not come,” said Seema Sibbal.

Chandni’s  role as a crowd-puller lasted till the arrival of  Union minister Harsh Vardhan, a popular face in Krishna Nagar.

But he was unable to sustain the  crowd's attention for too long, forcing the BJP workers to begin announcing Bedi’s arrival 20 minutes before she actually hopped on to the open jeep.

Thereafter, it was all about catching up on the lost time as the procession moved rather quickly, often leaving party workers behind.

Bedi made good use of the remaining two hours. She gave several interviews to the media from atop the jeep and interacted with the voters, mostly through the sign language. She blew frequent kisses and hurled garlands and bouquets at the public even as party workers sprinkled rose petals from houses.

Her jeep stopped several times to allow people to garland her. One person arrived with a king-sized garland that was placed around the necks of at least five people, all at once.

BJP MP Mahesh Girri who had accompanied Bedi drew her attention to the little time left before the Election Commission-mandated end of campaigning. But she pointed to her watch, conveying that  it was allowed till 5 pm.

A tired-looking Bedi shifted her position on the jeep at least thrice.
First, she sat on the bonnet, but when she realised that she was barely visible, she stood beside the driver’s seat. Still unsatisfied, she returned to her original position. A pillow was procured from one of the houses on the route and placed behind her back to provide comfort.

Earlier rally
Earlier in the day, hundreds of party workers waited patiently at Arjun Nagar for the rally that was scheduled to begin at noon.

Party workers kept themselves busy clicking photographs, taking selfies and dancing to the tune of bands playing patriotic music.

Two bands roped in for the rally suggested the BJP had reserved its best for the last day. But the main attention-puller was a third unplanned band consisting of youths.

They joined the procession beating steel plates, empty plastic barrels and water bottles. Though their loud music made little sense, this group played  throughout right in front of Bedi’s jeep.

The BJP also ensured that most people at the rally wore the party cap. Kalpana Devi Jain, municipal councilor from east Delhi, was seen telling them, “It is an order direct from the top”.

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