[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]N[/dropcap]avjot Singh Sidhu’s unexpected departure from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is a real shock to the party, which brought him as a Nominated Member to the Rajya Sabha just two months back. What made Sidhu to take such a drastic step? Why did he shun his Rajya Sabha seat and quit the party? Is he eyeing to become the Chief Ministerial candidate of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Punjab, a state that goes to polls in May 2017? Or is it due to friction caused by abrasive egos in the party and its partner Akali Dal?
Several stories started appearing in the media from 2013 about Sidhu, casting him (and sometimes his wife) in a poor light. Was there a systematic de-construction of his image by vested interests, with several stories blaming Sidhu for not taking care of the constituency and devoting his time for TV shows? Was Sidhu’s wife, who is also a BJP MLA from Punjab caught in this vortex?
Being a cricketer, a commentator and a TV personality, Sidhu enjoys a special identity in Punjab. Was this not palatable to the Badal family? The Badals have been at loggerheads with Mr & Mrs Sidhu for a long time. In this fight, the Badals were supported by Jaitley. There was a similar situation against Kirti Azad and JD(U) head Nitish Kumar in Bihar. It was a known fact that Jaitley was supporting Nitish Kumar and was trying to sideline Kirti Azad. Perhaps it was Azad’s luck that Nitish left the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Otherwise, Azad’s Darbhanga seat would have been with Nitish’s JD(U) in 2014 Lok Sabha Polls.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]S[/dropcap]idhu was embarrassed by the treatment of Badals even after becoming a Rajya Sabha member. Did the Badals have the implicit support of Jaitley? If Sidhu quit the party over his differences with Jaitley, he wouldn’t be the first one – Ram Jethmalani and Arun Shourie either left or were expelled.
The fact of the matter is that Sidhu is an asset to any party and his leaving is BJP’s loss. The backroom machinations of a few oversized egos will hurt the public persona of Prime Minister Modi as he wanted to keep Navjot Singh Sidhu in the party which is why he was nominated to the Rajya Sabha. Sidhu was expecting a Cabinet berth this time as Sports Minister. But this was denied due to coalition pressures and he has made a bold call by leaving the party.
Speculation is rife that he will join AAP to be their Chief Ministerial candidate in Punjab. Will he? Some promises may not become reality as many a trodden leader would attest to. With the colourful Sidhu in the fray, Punjab polls will be watched with much interest.
1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
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