'Tiger' politics has flared up in Madhya Pradesh following a remark by Rajya Sabha member Jyotiraditya Scindia on Thursday in which he said he wanted to tell his former Congress colleagues and former chief ministers Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh that 'tiger abhi bhi zinda hai' (tiger is still alive).
On Friday, both Nath and Singh retorted to the comment, although indirectly, even as Scindia reiterated his remark while addressing a virtual BJP rally in BJP. Scindia further added that he is not bothered about the reactions of Singh and Nath.
Scindia's comments were in the context of alleged efforts by Nath, Singh and the Congress party to tarnish the image of their former colleague after he left the party to join the BJP.
In what appears to be a dig at Scindia, Singh, also a Rajya Sabha member from MP, tweeted on Friday: “When hunting was not prohibited, I and Shrimant Madhavrao Scindia (Jyotiraditya's father) used to hunt tigers. Since the time Indira ji (former prime minister Indira Gandhi) brought in Wildlife Conservation Act, I now only capture the tiger on cameras.” The tweet may also have been a reminder to the BJP leader that Singh was in the league of the former's father.
Singh followed it up with a photograph of two tigers engaged in a fight and captioned it: “Do you know the real character of a tiger? Only one tiger stays in one jungle.”
This was another obvious dig at the fact that Scindia had borrowed the 'Tiger abhi bhi zinda hai' phrase from MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and that both of them are now in the same party.
Singh also shared a spoof video of Chouhan and Scindia hurling serious allegations at each other when they were in different parties, and of two tigers fighting. The Rajya Sabha member captioned the video: “Time is very powerful. Future of BJP. Can't say how many tigers have come alive in BJP following the cabinet expansion. Keep watching.”
Later in the day, Nath, who was in Sailana of Ratlam district to unveil the statue of a local Congress leader, Prabhudayal Gehlot, asked:”Which tiger is alive? Is it a paper tiger or a circus tiger.”
Speaking to the media, he said like different kinds of tigers, there are different kinds of horses as well; one is the marriage procession horse that is decked up and dances at weddings and the other is the race horse.
Addressing the gathering at the unveiling function, Nath said “I am not a Maharaj, neither am I a mama (maternal uncle, as Shivraj is popularly termed), I have never sold tea. I am just Kamal Nath. Some people say they are tigers. I am not a tiger, nor a paper tiger. The people of the state will now decide who is what.”
On the issue of cabinet expansion, Nath said it was an internal matter of BJP, but the BJP government is a government of trade and the cabinet is also a cabinet of trade. “By making 14 non-MLAs ministers, the BJP is insulting Madhya Pradesh and tarnishing its image in the entire country. We are embarrassed that such politics is being played out in the state. Madhya Pradesh never witnessed such politics,” he said.