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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

Had not planned to quit game midway: Sidhu

PTI  Mumbai, November 10, 2012
First Published: 20:31 IST(10/11/2012) | Last Updated: 01:03 IST(11/11/2012)

Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, whose innings on season 6 of Colors' reality show 'Bigg Boss' ended on Saturday, said it was difficult to be on the show but he had never planned to leave the game midway.

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Sidhu, member of the Lok Sabha from Amritsar, said his party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), had asked him to quit the show to get him into the campaign for the upcoming Gujarat elections. "It was not that I had planned to leave the show midway," Sidhu, who is also stand-up-comedy judge and star cricket commentator, told reporters here. "It was the situation that demanded me to be out of the house. It is an unfortunate and unexpected thing."

Sidhu, 49, quit after a month of living in front of camera in the house of Bigg Boss. "It was my wife (Punjab chief parliamentary secretary Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu) who appealed to the channel to let me quit the show, as Nitin Gadkari (BJP president) had called her up to say I would be needed to campaign for the party in the upcoming Gujarat elections," he said. Sidhu's sudden exit from the show has raised eyebrows, especially since it was known always that elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat were round the corner.

"It is not that I had not informed the party about going on the show. When I went inside the house, the date for campaigns was not fixed. I got to know through my wife that the campaign had been rescheduled to an earlier date," Sidhu said. "The ouster from the show was surprising for me. I was immersed in the show and suddenly had to leave it. I felt awkward."

Sidhu seemed positive and friendly with all contestants during his stay. While on the show, he underwent layered voice analysis (LAV), a kind of lie-detector test designed to measure the stress level and understand the overall psychological state of the subject being interviewed. Sidhu was asked nearly 20 questions, about not only his cricket career but also his thoughts on the co-participants of "Bigg Boss 6".

When asked if he had ever cheated during his international cricket career, he said in Sharjah once, he had claimed a catch on the boundary to dismiss Courtney Walsh and, though it was not clean, it had helped India win the match. "I'm repentant about it," he said. Sidhu was the third former cricketer after Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds and Indian batsman Vinod Kambli to have participated in the reality show in which participants are locked in a house for some months, almost cut off from news of the outside world.

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