New Delhi: A day after he resigned as a member of the Rajya Sabha, cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu’s political plans remained a mystery for most. Though it was initially believed that he might be headed for the Aam Aadmi Party, which has been wooing him, the vagueness of comments from all quarters and the fact that neither the AAP nor Sidhu have revealed their cards just yet has obscured the puzzle. What has also befuddled many is the assertion by Sidhu’s wife, Navjot Kaur – who many believed had quit the BJP in April this year – that she was still with the party.
Asked why her husband chose to step down as Rajya Sabha member of the BJP despite being elected to the upper house only in April this year, Navjot Kaur told ANI, “I have not resigned from BJP, but it’s understood that Navjot Singh Sidhu has resigned.” To make matters clearer, she added: “When he has resigned from the Rajya Sabha, it only has one meaning – that he has resigned from the BJP as well.”
On his part, Sidhu has refrained from providing any detailed explanation for his resignation, offering only one of his signature one-liners: “I cannot afford to be neutral in this war of right-wrong.”
Navjot Kaur insisted that Sidhu only wants to serve Punjab and that is why had stepped away. “He wasn’t ready for any other option besides Punjab,” she told the channel.
Asked if the three-time Lok Sabha MP, who has also carved a niche for himself as a commentator and television personality, would be joining AAP, which has been looking for a suitable Sikh leader to front its election campaign in Punjab, Navjot Kaur again left the answer open-ended. Sidhu, she said, would take a call on this and it would be better if he announced his decision himself.
The Sidhu couple has for the past few years been unhappy with the BJP’s central leadership for its failure to stand up to the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) in Punjab and their disenchantment has increased ever since Amit Shah took over the reins of the party.
The Aam Aadmi Party has also not revealed its thinking on Sidhu. Though as a Jat Sikh and a well known cricketer and television personality he holds all the right credentials to be the party’s chief ministerial candidate, the question is if the AAP can live with a man who is known to gamely throw his bat around even when big leaders are involved. He has taken on Badal, Amarinder Singh, Amit Shah and now even Narendra Modi. In fact, Sidhu has even attacked Kejriwal in the past, accusing him of being a master of doublespeak.
In such a scenario, it is quite understandable that AAP should also be treading cautiously.
Kejriwal, who had on Monday hailed Sidhu’s courage in a tweet
chose to stay clear of any direct appreciation on Tuesday when he only commented that honest people were feeling suffocated in the BJP:
In the BJP too, there appear to be some rumblings over the issue. The party acknowledges the damage potential of Sidhu and it seems attempts are underway to still carry him along. This was also reflected in how Punjab BJP chief Vijay Sampla, who had on Monday questioned Sidhu’s loyalty and wondered if he was indeed useful for the party by saying that it had been doing well when he was away from the state for four year, appeared more subdued on Tuesday when he claimed that both the Sidhus were still in the party:
Clearly there is still much at stake for all concerned over Sidhu’s decision and it is now up to the cricketer-turned-politician-turned rebel to choose his latest colours.