Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, who resigned from the Rajya Sabha recently, is still in the Bharatiya Janata Party, “without any grudge”, claims Punjab BJP president Vijay Sampla.
Since Sidhu was still in the BJP, said Sampla, “there is no question of his returning to the party”. Sampla, who is also a Union minister, was addressing reporters here on Sunday.
Responding to queries on Sidhu’s first press conference after resignation, coming up in Delhi on Monday, he said: “Sidhu has resigned from the Rajya Sabha, not from the BJP. He may have some personal reasons but he has no grudge against the BJP.”
On speculation that both Sidhu and his wife might join the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Sampla said: “He would take any decision with due diligence.” Asked whether the BJP had made contact with Sidhu since he quit the upper House of Parliament, Sampla said: “I tried but he didn’t respond.”
Just three months after the Narendra Modi government nominated him to the Rajya Sabha, Sidhu resigned amid a buzz that he might switch to the AAP before the Punjab assembly elections due in 2017. Sidhu has remained quiet since but his wife, Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu, had confirmed there is no going back. “He has suggested very clearly what he is going to do... he wants to serve Punjab, and there is no choice except doing it through the AAP,” the Amritsar-East legislator and Punjab’s chief parliamentary secretary (health) had said on July 18.
About her husband’s position in the BJP, she had said: “It is understood that if he has quit the Rajya Sabha, he has quit BJP. He has never gone back on his words.”
‘AAP with radicals’
He accused the AAP of having links with foreign-based Punjab radicals who are trying to disturb peace in the state. “One should keep that in mind before giving any support to the AAP,” he said. “It is not more than a headless, thoughtless, faceless, and senseless drama club.”
Breach of protocol: Sampla unhappy with state govt
Sampla said the Punjab government had not replied to his complaint about the breach of protocol in its function at Ghuman in Gurdaspur district on July 17 when he was with Union cabinet colleague Suresh Prabhu but not given similar respect.
“I have complained to the cabinet secretary and the state government but I await a reply,” he told the media after announcing the office-bearers
of the state Bharatiya Janata Party unit. “We are firm on coalition dharma, but our alliance partner (the Shiromani Akali Dal) should also follow the coalition’s rules and give due respect to the partner,” said Sampla. “These are small things but important.”