Wiser after a crushing defeat within weeks of her electoral debut in Delhi, BJP member and former police officer Kiran Bedi has chosen to connect with Indians.
In a blog post that is nostalgic, emotional, philosophical and blunt, Bedi first lists her achievements in Delhi as a police officer, then goes on to share her views on shortcomings in electoral campaigning, and admits she failed in electoral politics.
The post titled "An open letter to fellow Indians" delves on many topics, and also has a punch dialogue, like those in Hindi films. Her blog goes by the name "Crane Bedi".
Achievements as Police Officer
The blog post begins on a nostalgic note, recalling her achievements in Delhi, of her deft handling of the city's traffic during the Asian Games held in 1982, despite her seniors plotting to move her out of the city on the pretext of sending her to Japan. In a veiled reference to corrupt cops, she says "traffic was revenue for some."
She also talks about how she prevented many women from being raped at night by criminal tribes, by using the services of village men to patrol, while she herself was out on the streets five nights a week.
She then lists her efforts to rehabilitate ragpickers, bootleggers and drug addicts.
Why she plunged into politics
It was a desire to give a "stable" government to Delhi that would be "aligned to the Central government" that she joined politics.
Elaborating, she says she did not want to be called as one who only "comments" from the sidelines, but does not enter electoral politics to address challenges.
She then candidly admits that having taken the plunge, she failed at electoral politics, while saying that she had too little time to make any meaningful impact on her party's electoral prospects.
Suggestions for conducting elections
The heat and dust of electoral politics prompts her to say that campaigning calls for major changes. While asking 'Whole City or State comes to a grinding halt. Should it?', she says campaigning is "loud", "uncouth", "corrupt" and "wasteful".
She also criticises the tendency to offer freebies, an oblique reference to her rival AAP's announcements on subsidised power and free water. Here is her punchline: "If you rob Peter to pay Paul, it won't be long before all get robbed."
It's not a level playing field level-headed, is her considered view and calls for changes to electoral campaigning.
She wants space for campaigning to be fixed by netural persons appointed by the Election Commission.
But what she then suggests could mean an end to political rallies, that many, including Narendra Modi love to address. "Public 'appeals' through use of congregations must be not be allowed and considered a violation of laws. Hence must be banned." This is something many conventional politicians would frown at.
She ends by saying that she is sorry for not living up to the expectations of those who "reposed" faith in her, apparently referring to the BJP's top leadership that inducted her into the party just on the eve of elections.
Here is the full text of the letter in her blog Crane Bedi:
I opted for electoral politics not for position or power but for serving the city which is my home for last over 40 years. A city which I have served in various capacities, through thick and thin.
I saw it through various challenges, international sports events, VIP security, political upheavals, communal riots, agitations, and more ...
On crime front I saw it through when Delhi was hit by terror from outside. I spent years to catch a wink with boots on and with wireless blaring to get on the street any moment.
I did crime prevention saving women from being raped in rural areas on dark nights by erstwhile criminal tribes with literally no cops on roles ... by involving village young men to patrol at night. While I was personally out 5 nights a week.
Conducted traffic management for Asian Games with hundreds of students doing traffic duties, when my senior wanted to send me to Japan on a course, just to edge me out. Traffic was revenue for some.
Another time when a district was ridden with bootlegging I managed to dry them out and rehabilitate them to honourable living ... or rag picking children sent to schools, now become community colleges and many of the same children become teachers ... or opened drug abuse treatment centres from police stations never heard of...
All this became a life long mission and will remain ...
I did it all not for any glory, I did it because the service and situations demanded it ...
I stepped into electoral politics because I wanted to give my city all I still had, when i was given the feeling that I could be of value. I wanted to see it get a stable government in alignment with government of India to get all that Delhi needed.
I also wanted to not die one day with a guilt that I was commenting only and never daring to pass the ultimate test of electoral politics.
I have failed the test. And take full responsibility for my decision.
But inside me has not failed. Because given the time I gave to myself I gave it all the energy and experience I had. Obviously it was not enough.
In such trying situations one does not meet the challenge alone. There are several factors which play a vital role. And each one did. I wish to add nothing more. History will keep analyzing till cows come home. And as I read them, each one of them makes sense. And worth being reflected upon.
The wise will read each one, and take due notice ...
On the election trail I wish to say, we need to rework the way we campaign. Whole city or state comes to a grinding halt. Should it?
Roads are in disarray, and work just stops. Everything is too loud, uncouth at times, insulting to thin skinned, false, insinuating, biased, revengeful, corrupt, wasteful, highly disruptive of common man's needs, breaking all laws, and sending all wrong messages. It's not a level playing field for the levelheaded serving people. It's a field for might and muscle in all respects.
We need to address these. Hope to see it in my life time.
People need services to be delivered. They want integrity, trustworthiness, and professional commitment. But they also want an implementable vision and plans. But they also want freebies ... more you give, more you get.
They do not get it still, that there are no free lunches in life. If you rob Peter to pay Paul, it won't be long before all get robbed.
Also all campaigning must be become lawful, transparent, facts and evidence based, civil, organized, more technology driven, reasonable, unbiased, neutral through different mediums, etc.
Space could be allocated through neutral umpires appointed by the Election Commission as per laid down rules based debates and also grass root work done, and let candidates be chosen on the basis of performance or implementable ideas. Which means widespread use of television reaching out to the last mile...
Public 'appeals' through use of congregations must be not be allowed and considered a violation of laws. Hence must be banned.
Its time every public servant becomes a stake holder in governing this country. Needs of people have far outstripped what the country can provide for, be it water, power, roads, public transport, schools, teachers, doctors, jobs, skills, and even girls. Forget about security for women ... Only God knows how long women will continue to suffer...
In the end, I wish to thank all those who reposed their trust in me. And to say I am sorry I could not measure up to theirs.
And also all who called me with foulest possible names.
I am relieved my parents were not alive to see this...