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'These are great times for women to work with the BJP'

By Upasna Pandey, for Rediff.com
February 06, 2015 10:00 IST
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'There is a huge gap in what the Aam Aadmi Party set out to do and where it is now and it's time for voters to understand it.'

'I have proved my case of not being an opportunist, as I have chosen not to contest the elections.'

Once considered a close associate of Arvind Kejriwal and an important member of the Aam Aadmi Party, Shazia Ilmi jumped to the Bharatiya Janata Party last month.

In an interview to Rediff.com contributor Upasna Pandey, the feisty former journalist lashes out against the media for 'stereotyping' her, saying she too has a right to make choices.

How do you see Shanti Bhushan's comments praising Kiran Bedi and criticising Arvind Kejriwal?

I totally agree with Shantiji. His observations are very important as he is a founding member of AAP. I said the same things as Shantiji, about how the party functions under Arvind Kejriwal and the lack of internal democracy in the party.

There is a huge gap in what AAP set out to do and where it is now and it's time for voters to understand it.

Even Prashantji (Bhushan, AAP leader and Shanti Bhushan's son) has not denied these observations. He reportedly told the media that he would deal with these issues later.

You have faced criticism for joining the BJP.

I want to make it clear that I have multiple identities. I am an Indian, a Muslim, a woman and also a journalist.

I am a normal citizen who has the right to choose.

It is the media which has been stereotyping me. I have proved my case of not being an opportunist, as I have opted not to contest the elections.

The BJP's Delhi unit saw infighting over the distribution of tickets to new members and the entry of new members like yourself.

Party infighting is a regular feature, especially during elections, so I don't know why so much noise is being made about BJP workers raising their voice. We have also witnessed infighting in AAP and the Congress.

Do you see the entry of prominent women like Kiran Bedi and yourself as an advantage for the BJP?

I think these are great times for women to work with the BJP.

It is not about people who have godfathers, but women with merit who are joining the BJP.

I see Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent speech during the inauguration of the Beti Bachao Beti Padao campaign to be quite inspiring for women across the country.

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Upasna Pandey, for Rediff.com in New Delhi
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