Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Kejriwal challenges Bedi to debate, BJP declines


New Delhi, Jan 20 (IANS) Former Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal of the AAP Tuesday challenged the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Kiran Bedi to a public debate. But the BJP turned it down.

The Bharatiya Janata Party called it a popularity stunt of Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party, while Bedi said her focus was on “delivery” and not on just debate.

Ajay Maken, the Congress’ face in the Delhi polls, meanwhile, agreed to the challenge.

Kejriwal, in a message on Twitter, congratulated Bedi for her nomination and said: “I invite you for a public debate moderated by neutral person and telecast by all.”

He also said Bedi has blocked him on Twitter.

Later, talking to reporters, Kejriwal said: “Ajay Maken, Kiran Bedi and I, all three should have a debate so that people can make an informed choice about selecting their chief minister.”

The BJP, however, turned down the proposal, and Bedi said any debate would take place only in the Delhi assembly.

“I accept the challenge but I will do it only in the Delhi assembly. Right now, I am focusing on delivery, while debate is all he (Kejriwal) has been doing,” Bedi told reporters.

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra called it a publicity gimmick.

“This debate is a gimmick to gain some cheap publicity. The AAP is all about publicity, they want to use Kiran ji for their publicity,” Patra said.

“Kiran ji blocked Kejriwal on Twitter one year back. He (Kejriwal) should have approached her then,” he said.

Maken, who is the chief of the Congress campaign committee, agreed with the idea.

“This is not Kejriwal’s idea, a TV channel had invited us for debate. I welcome the idea of such a debate,” Maken said.

The BJP Monday announced Bedi as its chief ministerial candidate for the Feb 7 Delhi polls.

Kejriwal remains the candidate from the AAP. The Congress has not officially named a chief ministerial candidate but Maken is largely being seen as the party’s face for the polls.

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