Hitting out at the BJP for “perverting and destroying” vital principles of conduct in public life “under the pretence of party discipline,” the former party leader, Jaswant Singh, expressed his displeasure at being expelled from the party he co-founded.

“This election very sadly exemplifies how values are being perverted, indeed almost destroyed, under the false pretence of party discipline, commitment to individuals rather than issues and principles. I am saddened to find that the BJP of today is not the party that A.B. Vajpayee, L.K. Advani and Bhairon Singhji Shekhawat had envisioned it to be,” he said.

He accused the BJP of putting the “petty whims of individuals before the greater good of people” and said the party had frittered away its virtue for temporary political gain. Mr. Singh also questioned the party’s decision to overlook his candidature in favour of the former Congress MLA, Sonaram Chaudhary, for the Barmer Lok Sabha constituency.

“The party conveyed a decision to select a candidate with a questionable public record, who barely a day earlier had switched from the Congress. To cover up that decision, the party has attempted to cast doubts on my winnability and discredit my record,” he said.

Mr. Singh will be contesting as an Independent under the “battery torch” symbol, a nod to this region’s engagement with technology.