New Delhi: Breaking his silence after a week, Navjot Singh Sidhu today he resigned as a BJP parliamentarian because he had been asked to stay away from Punjab. In angst-ridden comments punctuated by his trademark couplets, Mr Sidhu managed to avoid revealing whether he plans to join Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
“I was asked to not even look at Punjab. How can I quit my roots? This is the fourth time it happened, and it was hard to take in,” Mr Sidhu, 52, told reporters.
“Even a patriotic bird does not leave its tree. How can I leave Amritsar? Why should I leave Amritsar? What is my fault?” said the cricketer-turned-politician, known for his garrulous commentary not just on cricket.
Mr Sidhu’s sudden resignation instantly triggered speculation that he is headed to the AAP, which has seen a surge in its popularity in Punjab, where elections are due next year.
His wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu last week attributed her husband’s silence to a “maun vrat (vow of silence)” and said that his resignation from the Rajya Sabha implies a resignation from the BJP. Later in the week, aides said Mr Sidhu would clarify soon.
In a blue bandgala for the occasion, Mr Sidhu said, eyes flashing with indignation: “No party in the world is bigger than Punjab. I am willing to accept the consequences.”
Mr Sidhu was nominated to the upper house earlier this year in a move that was seen as propitiation after he was asked to make way for his party senior Arun Jaitley in Punjab’s Amritsar, the seat he had held since 2004.
AAP has also been evasive on Mr Sidhu, with party spokesperson Ashutosh only saying, “How can I reply on his behalf? I have been his fan and he has redefined commentary. In politics, he defeated a heavyweight and was elected to the Lok Sabha.”