Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu’s legislator-wife confirmed on Tuesday that her husband’s innings with the BJP was over, and hinted that he could join the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
Her remarks fuelled swirling speculation about his next move after he resigned the day before from the Rajya Sabha, to which he was nominated by the BJP this April.
Wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu, the BJP legislator for Amritsar East and chief parliamentary secretary in the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP alliance government in Punjab, hinted that AAP is the best option for him now. She ruled out any possibility of Sidhu returning to the BJP.
But Kaur Sidhu dismissed speculation about following in her husband’s footsteps, saying she was still with the BJP.
“I have made no decision. Navjot has made his decision. His option is very clear. His option of serving Punjab is very clear. So you can well understand what option he has,” she said. And, as a meaningful afterthought, she added: “Whenever he requires my help, I will have to go.”
Gossip engulfed Sidhu’s shock announcement in his home state Punjab that votes next year in crucial assembly polls, in which the AAP has become a major competitor. Political observers hazarded a guess that Sidhu could be projected the AAP’s candidate for the chief minister’s post.
Kaur Sidhu too called the AAP a good alternative, saying she was impressed with the party’s manifesto and the work style of AAP convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
“I don’t know what is going to happen next. Let Sidhu himself announce. He will do that at an appropriate time,” she said.
She appreciated Kejriwal’s remarks saluting Sidhu for his courage.
“I admire his courage. I think all good people should resign from the BJP,” he said on Tuesday, and brushed aside Sidhu’s criticism of him in the past.
Kaur Sidhu blamed the BJP for closing the doors when her husband wanted to work for his home state. “He had little option then but to leave the party. I feel he has done the right thing. It is obvious what alternative is the best for Punjab now. People have seen the SAD-BJP, people have seen the Congress,” she said, dropping clues about the tilt towards the AAP.
The legislator called Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal the “biggest opportunist” and remained unperturbed by scathing remarks of his son, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal. “We are not bothered about what he says.”
She accused the Akali Dal of scuttling projects that Sidhu had initiated when he was Lok Sabha MP for Amritsar. “Unfortunately the BJP opted to be silent at that time.”
Sidhu was denied the Lok Sabha ticket for the Amritsar parliamentary seat in the 2014 general elections. He had won the seat thrice. The BJP fielded Arun Jaitley, now Union finance minister, but sulking star campaigner Sidhu didn’t go to Amritsar for a single day to canvass for the party.
(with inputs from HTC, New Delhi and agencies)