Puducherry: Former top police officer-turned-politician Kiran Bedi have been appointed as the lieutenant-governor of Puducherry, just days after the Opposition Congress wrested power in this centrally administered territory.
The country’s first woman to serve the elite Indian Police Service, had joined the ruling BJP in January 2015 to contest a disastrous election to the Delhi Assembly as its chief ministerial candidate. She was blamed for the party’s drubbing at the hands of the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party, her former ally.
Bedi’s appointment was announced by the President’s office in a statement Sunday. “I am trustworthy in terms of governance. I’m going to live up to that,” Bedi told a television channel soon.
With a marvellous career, Bedi picked a reputation as a stickler for the law and of being a resolute policewoman at a time when women were yet to break many a glass ceiling in public life. She is remembered for transforming Tihar, Asia’s largest prison, into a reformist penitentiary. While in service and after retirement, Bedi was a model for young girls aspiring to join public service.
A second phase of her public activism started when she plunged right into the centre of the Anna Hazare movement against corruption, alongside Kejriwal, building on her fame as an upright policewoman and targeting the Congress-led UPA government. She joined the BJP after falling out with Kejriwal.
Bedi has been no stranger to controversy. At the height of the anti-corruption agitation, she drew flak for saying the media did not go after corrupt politicians as much as they pursued “small rape case or assault”.
In 2011, she faced allegations of charging business-class fares to her hosts when called to participate in events, but travelling on discounted economy-class tickets instead. She denied the charges.
Bedi has a wide range of administrative experience and was secretary to Delhi’s former Lieutenant Governor Tejinder Khanna during 1998-99.