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Kiran Bedi, Jaya Prada, Shazia Ilmi may join BJP today

Kiran Bedi, Jaya Prada, Shazia Ilmi may join BJP today
NEW DELHI:Former Indian Police Service officer Kiran Bedi, former Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Prada and former Aam Aadmi Party leader Shazia Ilmi are expected to join the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday. The formal announcement is expected to be made at a press conference to be addressed by party chief Amit Shah shortly.

Sources in the BJP said the three women are also expected to contest the February 7 Delhi Assembly elections. There are strong rumours about Jaya being fielded opposite AAP chief and former chief minister Arvind Kejriwal from the prestigious New Delhi constituency.

There is also speculation about Bedi, an active supporter of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in TV debates, as the BJP's chief ministerial candidate. Bedi, along with Kejriwal, was one of the prominent faces of the India Against Corruption campaign led by Gandhian activist Anna Hazare.

Jaya Prada, the other possible high-profile entrant to the party, had lost the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from Bijnor seat in Uttar Pradesh. Along with her mentor Amar Singh, the actor-turned-politician had joined Ajit Singh's Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) in 2014. She was an MP from the Rampur parliamentary seat in UP twice in 2004 and 2009.

Jaya is said to be in touch with the BJP for a long time now. She reportedly met party chief Amit Shah recently.

The third high profile woman expected to join the BJP on Thursday, Shazia Ilmi, on Wednesday said she will campaign for the party in the Delhi Assembly elections. Ilmi had quit the AAP last year, accusing the party of lacking democracy within and its chief Arvind Kejriwal of cultivating cronies around him. She had recently joined Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pet Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, raising speculations of her joining the saffron party.

Ilmi had contested the 2013 Delhi Assembly elections from the RK Puram constituency which she lost to BJP's Anil Sharma by a thin margin of 326 votes. She also lost the 2014 general elections from Ghaziabad against former Army chief General VK Singh.

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