BJP leader and cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu said on Monday that he was asked to stay far away from Punjab - which goes to the polls next year - which is why he quit the Rajya Sabha. In angst-ridden comments punctuated by his trademark couplets, Mr Sidhu managed to avoid revealing whether he plans to join Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
"How can I leave the people who voted me in four times," Sidhu said. He resigned from the Rajya Sabha on July 18.
It was speculated that Sidhu is planning to quit the BJP and join the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) ahead of the assembly elections in Punjab early next year. He resigned a mere three months after the Narendra Modi government nominated him to Parliament's upper house.
"I was asked to not even look at Punjab. How can I quit my roots? This is the fourth time it happened, and it was hard to take in," Mr Sidhu, 52, told reporters.
"Even a patriotic bird does not leave its tree. How can I leave Amritsar? Why should I leave Amritsar? What is my fault?" said the cricketer-turned-politician, known for his garrulous commentary not just on cricket.
Mr Sidhu's sudden resignation instantly triggered speculation that he is headed to the AAP, which has seen a surge in its popularity in Punjab, where elections are due next year.
Sidhu had so far not explicitly said why he resigned. However, his wife Navjot Kaur , who's a BJP member, said that Sidhu's quitting the Rajya Sabha meant he was quitting the BJP.
In a brief statement on his resignation, Sidhu indicated he was miffed with the state of affairs in the BJP. However, his wife Navjot Kaur, who's a BJP member, said that Sidhu's quitting the Rajya Sabha meant he was quitting the BJP.
"It is understood that if he has quit the Rajya Sabha, he has quit BJP. There is no question of his going back, he has never gone back on his words. He wants to serve Punjab. And he will serve the state."
Sidhu's own comments were more cryptic.
In a blue bandgala for the occasion, Mr Sidhu said, eyes flashing with indignation: "No party in the world is bigger than Punjab. I am willing to accept the consequences."
"At the behest of the honourable PM, I had accepted the Rajya Sabha nomination for the welfare of Punjab. With the closure of every window leading to Punjab the purpose stands defeated. It is now a mere burden. I prefer not to carry it," he said.
Mr Sidhu was nominated to the upper house earlier this year in a move that was seen as propitiation after he was asked to make way for his party senior Arun Jaitley in Punjab's Amritsar, the seat he had held since 2004.
AAP has also been evasive on Mr Sidhu, with party spokesperson Ashutosh only saying, "How can I reply on his behalf? I have been his fan and he has redefined commentary. In politics, he defeated a heavyweight and was elected to the Lok Sabha."