Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu now seems to be all geared up for a new innings with a new team as he formally announced his reasons for quitting as Rajya Sabha MP and the Bhartiya Janata Party on Monday.
Breaking his silence after a week of resigning, Sidhu said he resigned as a BJP parliamentarian because he had been asked to stay away from Punjab. “How can I quit my roots? Punjab’s interest is paramount,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sidhu managed to dodge questions on whether he plans to join the Aam Aadmi Party as speculations were raised when Arvind Kejriwal had earlier tweeted commenting on his exit:
Arvind Kejriwal ✔ @ArvindKejriwal
People can give their rt hand for an RS seat. Ever seen a sitting RS MP resigning to save his state? I salute Sidhu ji for his courage
7:49 PM – 18 Jul 2016
2,649 2,649 Retweets 3,498 3,498 likes
Sidhu’s exit is sure to play a big role in the Punjab polls next year and will hit Punjab’s ruling Akali-BJP alliance as it is facing a tough time against an aggressive AAP and a resurgent Congress.
Here are some of the reasons why Sidhu is the most sought after individual in Punjab now:
What makes Sidhu an asset?
Has managed to cast an independent anti-Badal image of himself. As Akalis faces strong anti-incumbency, Sidhu is well placed to be an anti-Badal face.
While AAP has a strong lineup of leaders in the state, no one matches Capt Amrinder Singh. Sidhu can fill in for that.
With witty repartee and strong anti-Badal credentials, Sidhu has the potential to counter the perception that only Amarinder Singh is worthy of being Punjab’s ‘Captain’.
In a state with 40 per cent Jat Sikhs, Sidhu as the Sikh who does not trim his beard is the right fit for any outsider party, including the AAP.
He won three consecutive Lok Sabha elections from Amritsar (from 2004 to 2014)
Is a well known figure in the state
Is a star poll campaigner
Is a master orator, an excellent speaker
Is the most visible Jat Sikh face in the state
His clean image
His namesake wife, Navjot Kaur Sidhu, is a BJP MLA in Punjab
Legacy: His father was a Congress MLA
Meanwhile, some also feel that Sidhu’s resignation will not affect the BJP much as:
He is not a consistent politician
Is a motormouth
Sidhus (his wife as well) are seen by many as someone giving leeway to self-interest over serving the people
Does not understand the intricacies of politics
Was seen more on TV channels than his constituency