RSS "very nationalistic"; has kept India united: Kiran Bedi
New Delhi: A rare BJP leader with no RSS link, Kiran Bedi, the party's Chief Ministerial nominee for Delhi, today described the Sangh as "very nationalistic" that has kept India united.
The 65-year-old Bedi, who has been pitchforked to a leadership role within days of joining BJP, also felt that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a right-wing organisation, was a very disciplined outfit and has been contributing significantly to nation building.
"They( RSS) are very nationalistic. I would think here is an organisation which kept India together, which has kept India neat," Bedi told PTI in an exclusive interview.
BJP chief ministerial candidate Kiran Bedi during a road show while heading to the district collectors office to file her nomination papers for the Delhi State Assembly election in New Delhi on Wednesday. Pic/AFP
The former IPS officer, who was a core member of Team Anna till about two years back along with Kejriwal before they parted ways, said the AAP leader's agitation at Rajpath within a month of becoming Chief Minister(on December 28, 2013) had "ticked" her off very much.
It was after Kejriwal's protest at Rajpath that she thought of joining politics to save Delhi from "confrontational politics", she said. "The city of Delhi was the reason for my joining politics. Delhi has gone through a huge upheaval ever since this man's (Kejriwal) entry (into politics). It stood still and it's been only on an agitation mode which left a very bad taste in the mouth of Indians.
"Because whatever happens in Delhi, happens in India. It affects India, it impacts India. It's been all about confrontation, it's all about Rajpath Dharnas. What kind of person is he (Kejriwal) who says I am an anarchist?. Three days Delhi was standstill (when Kejriwal was on dharna as Chief Minister)," she said.
While she was severely critical of AAP, she was full of praise for RSS and said people do not know the "real" RSS. "You do not know them. I have seen it all..I saw very disciplined people and being very very strongly nationalistic. Teaching discipline to youngsters," she said.
Asked why she was not accepting Kejriwal's debate challenge as she herself two years back had asked Sonia Gandhi to go for a US Presidential campaign-like debate with the then BJP president Nitin Gadkari, Bedi said she did not want to participate in a "drama".
"That is not a challenge. It was for drama as I am in positive politics and not in bickering politics," Bedi said. Rejecting criticism against her for joining politics when she herself was critical of Kejriwal when he floated AAP, Bedi said, "Politics is a vehicle for change, vehicle for reform and vehicle for governance" and that she joined BJP for a cause.
"The Anna Hazare movement had come to an end. It reached its logical conclusion. We should not waste time anymore. People are waiting for development and progress. They are waiting for good governance, growth and investment. I have come for positive politics," she said.
On whether BJP brought her to shield Prime Minister Narendra Modi from any blame in case BJP is defeated at the polls, Bedi said," The party leadership is bringing people like me to sow seeds of new kinds of politics."
Asked whether she talked to Anna Hazare before joining BJP, Bedi said she tried to contact him but was not successful. Queried how she would want herself to be remembered, Bedi's reply was--"somebody who brought positivity to politics".
On growing resentment among the BJP leaders over her sudden entry as Chief Ministerial candidate, she dismissed the issue, saying she has conveyed to all leaders that they have to "walk together" towards victory.