Addressing the media on Monday, former Rajya Sabha MP and BJP leader Navjot Singh Sidhu said he quit his post in the Upper House on July 18 as he was asked to stay away from Punjab. Ahead of the Punjab assembly polls in 2017, Sidhu hinted at being displeased with the state of affairs within the BJP.
“I was asked to stay away from Punjab. How can I quit my roots? The first time can be a mistake. But this is the fourth time it is happening… it was hard to take in,” he told reporters. “When the going gets tough, it is Sidhu Sidhu…but now they say don’t look at Punjab….Have I done anything wrong?”
It was widely speculated that Sidhu will join the Aam Admi Party (AAP), and even be projected as its chief ministerial candidate in Punjab. However, the cricketer-turned-politician avoided all questions regarding his next move.
While initial reports indicated that his wife, Navjot Kaur Sidhu, will also be quitting the party, she said she will remain with the BJP. Last week, she attributed her husband’s silence to a vow of silence or “maun vrat”. She added that his resignation implies one from the BJP.
Delhi chief minister and AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal took to Twitter to respond to Navjot Singh Sidhu’s press conference. He tweeted, “Sidhu wud hv spoken against drugs, if he went to Punjab. BJP prevented him. Who was BJP trying to protect? Shocking.”
Sidhu wud hv spoken against drugs, if he went to Punjab. BJP prevented him. Who was BJP trying to protect? Shocking https://t.co/TF6imhQL1w
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) July 25, 2016
Sidhu’s nominatation 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 won the Amritsar seat thrice in a row—in 2004, 2007 (by-election) and 2009—and was nominated to the Lok Sabha. In 2014, ahead of the General Elections, he had to vacate his seat from to pave way for Arun Jaitley.