NEW DELHI: BJP leader and cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu said on Monday that he was asked to stay far away from Punjab – which goes to the polls next year – which is why he quit the Rajya Sabha.
“How can I leave the people who voted me in four times,”” Sidhu said.
It was speculated that Sidhu is planning to quit the BJP and join the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) ahead of the assembly elections in Punjab early next year. He resigned a mere three months after the Narendra Modi government nominated him to Parliament’s upper house.
Sidhu had so far not said explicitly said why he resigned. However, his wife Navjot Kaur, who’s a BJP member, said that Sidhu’s quitting the Rajya Sabha meant he was quitting the BJP.
In a brief statement on his resignation, Sidhu indicated he was miffed with the state of affairs in the BJP. However, his wife Navjot Kaur, who’s a BJP member, said that Sidhu’s quitting the Rajya Sabha meant he was quitting the BJP.
“It is understood that if he has quit the Rajya Sabha, he has quit BJP. There is no question of his going back, he has never gone back on his words. He wants to serve Punjab. And he will serve the state.”
Sidhu’s own comments were more cryptic.
“At the behest of the honourable PM, I had accepted the Rajya Sabha nomination for the welfare of Punjab.With the closure of every window leading to Punjab the purpose stands defeated. It is now a mere burden. I prefer not to carry it,” he said.
The 52-year-old politician also said that “in the war of right or wrong, you can’t afford to be neutral rather than being self-centered” and that “Punjab’s interest is paramount”.
Sidhu represented Amritsar in the Lok Sabha between 2004 and 2014.
Kaur is MLA from Amritsar-East constituency and Chief Parliamentary Secretary (Health) in the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP government in Punjab.
“I think he (Sidhu) has very clearly suggested what he is going to do and in the coming days let him come out with this (his future plans). He has said that he wants to serve Punjab and there is no choice except serving from Aam Aadmi Party,” Kaur said earlier this month.