Former Union minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Jayant Sinha on Wednesday said that he was being “unjustly targeted” despite his loyalty, in response to a show cause notice by the party for not “taking any interest” in campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections and other organisational work.

Sinha, a former MP from Jharkhand’s Hazaribagh, was denied a ticket to contest the Lok Sabha constituency this year. The BJP has instead fielded party leader Manish Jaiswal.

On Monday, which was also the day of voting for the Hazaribagh seat during the fifth phase of the elections, Jharkhand BJP General Secretary Aditya Sahu told Sinha that the party’s image had been tarnished because of his actions and demanded a reply within two days.

The BJP’s notice to Sinha came days after his son, Aashir Sinha, joined the Congress on May 14.

“Ever since the party has declared Manish Jaiswal as its candidate from Hazaribagh, you are neither taking interest in election campaigning nor in organisational work,” Sahu said in a letter addressed to Jayant Sinha. “Despite this, you did not consider it appropriate to exercise your right to vote in this great festival of democracy.”

On Wednesday, Jayant Sinha said that he was surprised to receive the notice and that it was also released to the media. The former Union minister, in a letter addressed to Sahu, said that he had asked BJP chief JP Nadda in early March to relieve him from electoral duties as he wanted to focus on “combating issues arising from global climate change”.

The former BJP MP said that he had withdrawn from the ongoing elections on March 2, adding that he had told the party that he would continue to work with it on economic and governance issues.

According to the former Union minister, after his withdrawal from electoral duties, many had come to visit him in Delhi, urging him to rethink his decision and continue his candidacy. Jayant Sinha also said that when Jaiswal was announced as the candidate from Hazaribagh, he had congratulated him on social media.

He said that the BJP could have contacted him if the party wanted him to participate in election activities. “However, not a single senior party official or MP/MLA from Jharkhand reached out to me post my announcement on 2 March 2024,” he said. “I was not invited for any party events, rallies, or organisational meeting.”

The former Union minister said that Jaiswal had invited him on April 29 to join his nomination rally on May 1. However, he was not able to attend it.

“Consequently, after reaching Hazaribagh on May 2, I went straight to Manish Jaiswal ji’s residence to express my regards,” Sinha said. “He was not present, so I conveyed my message to his family.”

Sinha also said that he had left India on May 10 for personal reasons. “Before leaving I sent my vote through the postal ballot process,” he said. “Therefore, it is wrong for you to allege that I did not exercise my responsibility to vote.”

He added that it was inappropriate for the party to release the notice publicly.

“Your approach demoralises dedicated party party workers and undermines the party’s collective efforts,” he said. “Additionally, despite my loyalty and hard work for the party, it appears that I am being unjustly targeted.”