Denying him ticket showed the "disregard" the leadership has for senior leaders who helped establish the BJP, the senior BJP leader said.

Denied Lok Sabha ticket from Barmer in Rajasthan, senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh threatened on Saturday to quit the party, even as party colleague Sushma Swaraj said she was “saddened” by the development.

“I am personally saddened by the decision. It was an extraordinary decision and extraordinary decisions are not without reason,” Ms. Swaraj told reporters in Bhopal. She said the decision to deny nomination to Mr. Singh was not taken at the party’s Central Election Committee (CEC) meeting but at “a later stage.”

In Jodhpur, a visibly upset Mr. Singh said the fight was now between the “fake BJP” and the “real BJP.” Denying him ticket showed the “disregard” the leadership has for senior leaders who helped establish the BJP, he said.

“This party of ideology is tragically being encroached upon by those who have been arch detractors of the BJP’s ideology,” he said even as the party made it clear it would not change its decision to field former Congress leader Sonaram Choudhury from Barmer.

Messages from party president Rajnath Singh and senior leader Arun Jaitley that he would be suitably accommodated failed to cut ice. “The party has done this to me twice now, and there is no chance of accepting any alternative proposal,” Mr Singh said. The party, meanwhile, continued welcoming people in its fold. Journalist M.J. Akbar, former JD (U) member of Parliament N.K. Singh, R.S. Goswami and Dr. Aijaz Ilmi, brother of AAP leader Shazia Ilmi, joined it on Saturday.

(With additional reporting by Pheroze L. Vincent in Bhopal)