Former cricketer and senior BJP leader Navjot Singh Sidhu resigned from the Rajya Sabha on Monday, July 18. He and his wife, Navjot Kaur, who is a parliamentary secretary for the Punjab government will be joining hands with Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party. Speculations are rife that Sidhu may be projected as AAP’s chief ministerial candidate for Punjab.
“With the closure of every window leading to Punjab, the purpose stands defeated, now a mere burden. I prefer not to carry it,” Sidhu said, “In the war of right or wrong, you can’t afford to be neutral rather than being self-centered. Punjab’s interest is paramount.”
Sidhu’s contribution to AAP will be significant considering he won the Amritsar seat thrice in a row—in 2004, 2007 (by-election) and 2009—and was nominated to the Lok Sabha. For the 2014 General Elections, he had to vacate his seat from to pave way for Arun Jaitley. Considered a star campaigner for the BJP, Sidhu did not campaign for Jaitley, who subsequently lost to Congress candidate Captain Amarinder Singh.
AAP is foraying into Punjab for the first time and has predicted toppling the SAD-BJP coalition government by garnering enough votes to seal 100 of the 117-member house.
His nomination to the Rajya Sabha this year has been widely considered a strategic move by the BJP to prevent him from crossing over to AAP. He briefly offered to refuse the seat, but was sworn in on April 28, 2016.