New Delhi: Cricketer-turned-BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu, who was recently nominated from the Rajya Sabha, resigned on Monday.
According to reports, Sidhu is set to join the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and become the party’s candidate for Chief Minister for the Punjab elections due next year. The Arvind Kejriwal-led party is preparing him to lead the campaign in the state elections.
Sidhu’s wife Navjot Kaur, a Parliamentary Secretary in the Punjab SAD-BJP government, may also resign from her post. She had announced her resignation on Facebook earlier this year but later changed her mind.
The resignation of 52-year-old Sidhu, who was nominated on April 22, has been accepted by Chairman Hamid Ansari with immediate effect.
“Nominated member Navjot Singh Sidhu on Monday tendered his resignation from Rajya Sabha and the Chairman has accepted his resignation with immediate effect,” Gurdeep Sappal, OSD to the RS Chairman told PTI.
Rajya Sabha deputy chairman PJ Kurien also announced in the House that the Chairman has accepted the resignation of Sidhu.
Navjot Sidhu has been upset with the BJP ever since the saffron party denied him the ticket from Amritsar for Lok Sabha polls in 2014. Instead, the party chose Arun Jaitley, who lost to Congress leader Amarinder Singh. Sidhu had represented the Amritsar constituency for 10 years previously.
“I accepted the Rajya Sabha nomination at the behest of PM Modi, for the good of Punjab. (But) with the closure of every window leading to Punjab, that purpose stands defeated. It is now a mere burden. I do not wish to carry it,” said Sidhu, indirectly pointing out that he was unhappy with the party’s direction and prospects in the state.
“In the battle between right and wrong, you cannot be neutral. Punjab’s interest is paramount,” Sidhu added philosophically.
With speculation rife over the issue, the AAP said in Chandigarh that it would welcome Sidhu with open arms if he joins the party.
“If he joins our party, we will welcome him with open arms,” the AAP’s Sangrur MP, Bhagwant Mann who is also party’s campaign committee chairman, said.
When asked if Sidhu has approached AAP or vice versa,
Mann said that is not the case so far. “He has not got in touch with us nor has we got in touch with him,” he said.
Asked if Sidhu could be made AAP’s Chief Ministerial candidate in case he decides to take the plunge, Mann said,
“Whoever joins AAP, he is clearly told that it has to be unconditional.
“Even when I had joined AAP, I had said that I will be happy if I am assigned just the duty of pasting posters of the party. I want to make it clear that there is no race for any post in our party…the CM candidate will be decided by the party,” he said.
The monsoon session of Parliament commenced on Monday with several issues including the GST bill on the agenda. The Opposition however grilled the government on the recent Kashmir violence, saying that it had failed to distinguish between terrorists and civilians, thus losing the trust of people in the Valley.
Addressing the media outside Parliament at the start of the Monsoon session, the Prime Minister said that based on the talks with all parties over the last few days, the prevailing mood was to take “very good decisions so that the country can move ahead on the path of development with greater speed”.