Sidhu justifies RS exit, says can’t leave my soil for ‘selfish gains’

New Delhi, July 25 : Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, who resigned from the Upper House last week, finally broke his silence on the same and said that he stepped down as the Rajya Sabha MP because he was asked to stay away from Punjab.

Addressing a press conference here today, Sidhu said, "I resigned from the Rajya Sabha because I was told that I will not head towards Punjab and will stay away from the state.

How could Sidhu leave his state? How could I leave the people who enabled me to win the polls? "I was told to stay away from Punjab.

Why was I told to do so? How can I leave Punjab for some selfish gains? I am a true nationalist.No party is bigger than Punjab.

Even a bird comes back to its nest. How can Navjot Sidhu leave his home, his people? I will always be there to ensure that Punjab benefits.

I only want to serve Punjab and Amritsar. How can Navjot Singh Sidhu leave the soil he belongs to?" he added. The 52-year old Amristar MP further said this was not for the first time that he has been asked to stay away from his native state.

"If this was the first time, I could have still tolerated. But this is the third or fourth time that this has happened.When Modi ji came to power, I was also suppressed along with the opposition," he said.

The former cricketer, who was thrice the Lok Sabha member from the BJP, was asked to make way for fellow party colleague Arun Jaitley in Amritsar during the 2014 general election.

"I was asked to fight the elections from Kurukshetra, then West Delhi. I said no, I won't betray my people. Today, they are telling me to leave Punjab. They should tell me my fault," he said. "If I am asked 100 times to choose between my family, my party and Punjab, each and every time I will choose Punjab," he added.

Sidhu, however, did not elaborate his future plans as he did not disclose whether he was joining the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) or desired to be Punjab's chief ministerial candidate.

He had last week resigned from the Rajya Sabha, only about three months after his nomination by the government.

The resignation of 52-year-old Sidhu, who was nominated on April 22, was accepted by Rajya Sabha chairman Mohammed Hamid Ansari with immediate effect.