Sidhu breaks silence… But quiet on his next move

Rajat Kain

New Delhi: Former MP Navjot Singh Sidhu addresses a press conference in New Delhi, July 25, 2016. Photo - PTI

New Delhi: Former MP Navjot Singh Sidhu addresses a press conference in New Delhi, July 25, 2016.
Photo – PTI

Cricketer-turned politician Navjot Singh Sidhu broke his silence over resigning from Rajya Sabha last week. Soon after his resignation, speculations were rife that he may join Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is in fray in the upcoming Punjab assembly polls. The former three-time BJP MP from Amritsar was recently nominated to the Upper House as an Independent member.

Addressing a presser in Delhi, laced with verbosity, Sidhu criticised his party leadership but stopped short of announcing his next move.

“I resigned from the Rajya Sabha because I was asked to stay away from Punjab… Why was I asked to stay away from Punjab? Why should I stay away from my home… That is not possible,” he said.

The former flamboyant opening batsman also chose to stay silent if he has formally quit the BJP, instead asking “what was his fault”.

“I was asked to contest from Kurukshetra and Delhi West, but I didn’t leave Amritsar… Tell me what is my fault?” he said targeting the BJP leadership.

On a question of him joining the Arvind Kejriwal-led outfit AAP, currently ruling Delhi with brute majority and eyeing windfall gains in Punjab polls due early next year, Sidhu answered “You will always see me standing with interest of Punjab…”

FILE: mritsar: A File photo of Navjot Singh Sidhu with his wife Navjot Kaur.  Photo - PTI

FILE: mritsar: A File photo of Navjot Singh Sidhu with his wife Navjot Kaur.
Photo – PTI

“No party is above Punjab. I am ready to bear any consequences…It is not about my personal gain or loss. More Sidhus will come from Punjab…,” he added leaving more questions unanswered in his short presser.

While Sidhu’s resignation from Rajya Sabha stirred speculation of him leaving BJP, his wife — Navjot Kaur, who is Chief Parliamentary Secretary in BJP-Akali Dal government in Punjab — continues to be the member of BJP.

Post his resignation from the Upper House on July 18, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was quick to hail Sidhu’s decision.

“People can give their rt hand for an RS seat. Ever seen a sitting RS MP resigning to save his state? I salute Sidhu ji for his courage, (sic)” Kejriwal had shared his thoughts on Twitter.

“In the war between the dharma and adharma, he will come along. It’s a good sign that righteous forces are coming together,” the Delhi CM had added further.

The AAP has, however, been mum on the prospects of Sidhu joining the party since then, even avoiding entertaining any queries of his projection as the party’s CM candidate for Punjab.

Even before the drama over his resignation as Rajya Sabha MP began, there were consistent reports of Navjot Singh Sidhu being upset with the BJP over its decision to field Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley from Amritsar in 2014 General Elections. Jaitley was eventually trounced by Congress heavyweight Capt. Amrinder Singh. It was one of the rare upset for the BJP in elections where it had steamrolled the ruling Congress party.