"I was asked to stay away from Punjab. How can I quit my roots? Vajpayee Called Me, Modi Wave Sank Me, Says Navjot Singh Sidhu

Breaking his silence after a week, Navjot Singh Sidhu today said he resigned as a BJP parliamentarian because he had been asked to "not even look at" Punjab, where elections will be held next year

Breaking his silence after a week, Navjot Singh Sidhu today said he resigned as a BJP parliamentarian because he had been asked to "not even look at" Punjab, where elections will be held next year.

"I was asked to stay away from Punjab. How do I stop my origins? The first time could be a blunder. But this is the fourth time it is happening...it was challenging to take in," Mr. Sidhu, 52, told reporters in Delhi, eyes flashing with indignation.

"When the going gets tough, it's Sidhu Sidhu...but now they say don't look at Punjab....Have I done anything wrong? At least tell me my crime? Should I stay away to serve the personal interests of some individuals?" Said the cricketer-turned-politician known for his garrulous comments, not only on cricket.

"No party in the world is larger than Punjab. I will be willing to accept the consequences," he declared.

Sharing that he challenged and won in Amritsar in the 2004 national election at 14 days' notice on receiving a phone call from former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, he quipped: "There was a time when I was their only winner in North India. Then the Modi wave came...it sank not just the resistance but Sidhu as well."

The unexpected resignation of Mr. Sidhu last Tuesday instantly activated speculation he is moving to the AAP, which has seen a surge in its popularity in Punjab in the months ahead of the elections.

Mr. Kejriwal disclosed nothing as he tweeted: "Sidhu would have discussed against drugs if he went to Punjab. Who BJP tried to shield? Shocking."

Mr. Sidhu was nominated earlier this season after he was asked to make way for Arun Jaitley in Amritsar in a move which was seen as a propitiation,

BJP sources denied he was asked to stay away from Punjab. "His name was added to the state core group by the principal leaders because they needed him to take part in the effort actively," they said.