New Delhi: BJP's Chief Ministerial nominee Kiran Bedi today dodged AAP Chief Arvind Kejriwal's challenge for an open debate on crucial issues facing the city while Congress' Ajay Maken expressed readiness for such a "healthy" exercise in the run up to the assembly polls.
AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal
Throwing the challenge to Bedi, Kejriwal said such a debate will be a "good initiative" as people will know about plans and policies of the two main parties for the city which will help them in understanding various issues.
65-year-old Bedi, who had joined BJP last week and was named its chief ministerial nominee last night, said she "accepted" the challenge but will only debate with him on the floor of Delhi Assembly and not during the campaign.
"I accept the challenge. I will do it in the Assembly and before that I am focusing on delivery rather than on debates because that's what he's been doing. He's only been debating. What I am doing is delivery of goals, services, programmes," said Bedi.
When told that Congress' Maken has also welcomed the move, Bedi, who will contest from BJP's traditional stronghold of Krishna Nagar in East Delhi, retorted, "While they are into drama, I am focused on work. These two have been indulging in drama. They have been doing it together also. I am focusing on work at this point."
Earlier, Kejriwal, who had worked with Bedi as part of Anna Hazare's Jan Lokpal movement before they parted ways, said both the leaders can debate on "concrete issues" for 1-2 hours. "It will be a good initiative for democracy if there is a debate between us on different issues. People vote in the name of religion and caste. They are not aware of the issues. The debate of around 1-2 hours should be on concrete issues," Kejriwal said.
Responding to Kejriwal's suggestion, Congress' face for Delhi polls Maken said he was ready for a "structured debate" with leaders of rival political parties. "This will be a healthy tradition. I believe a structured debate should take place in a mutually accepted TV channel or agency moderated by a mutually accepted anchor," he said.