BJP's Navjot Sidhu Quits Rajya Sabha, Gets 'Salute' From Arvind Kejriwal

Senior BJP leader Navjot Singh Sidhu has resigned from the Rajya Sabha. (AFP File Photo)


  • BJP leader Navjot Singh Sidhu resigned from Rajya Sabha
  • The popular commentator was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in April
  • Reports suggest he could be AAP's chief ministerial candidate in Punjab
New Delhi: BJP leader Navjot Singh Sidhu quit as a Member of Parliament on Monday, powering reports that he is set to switch to Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in time to play a big role in the Punjab election next year.

"The people of Punjab are looking for a change," was Mr Sidhu's telling comment to NDTV just before he resigned from the Rajya Sabha.

Without revealing anything, Mr Kejriwal left the field wide open for speculation with his tweet.
  The 52-year-old former cricketer and commentator may be AAP's chief ministerial candidate in Punjab, say sources.

He is likely to meet Mr Kejriwal in Punjab in a couple of days.

Mr Sidhu's statement describing his post as a "burden" suggested resentment with his party. "With the closure of every window leading to Punjab the purpose stands defeated, now a mere burden. I prefer not to carry it," he said.

"In the war of right or wrong, you can't afford to be neutral rather than being self-centered. Punjab's interest is paramount."

Mr Sidhu's wife Navjot Kaur, who is a lawmaker in Punjab, is also set to resign, say sources. She had announced her resignation on Facebook earlier but changed her mind.

Mr Sidhu's anticipated exit will hit Punjab's ruling Akali-BJP combine at a time it is seen to be facing a tough task retaining an upper hand in Punjab after two straight terms, challenged both by an aggressive AAP and a resurgent Congress.

A popular television personality known for his wit, Mr Sidhu was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in April.

He had been upset when he was asked to make way for Arun Jaitley to contest from Amritsar during the 2014 national election and denied the chance to contest from the constituency he had represented for 10 years. When Mr Jaitley lost the election, Mr Sidhu was charged by local BJP leaders with sabotaging the party's cause.

"If he joins our party, we will welcome him with open arms," Bhagwant Mann, an AAP parliamentarian in Punjab and the party's campaign chief, said.