A day after BJP Rajya Sabha MP Jyotiraditya Scindia took a dig at the Congress with his "Tiger abhi zinda hai" remark, his adversary Digvijaya Singh shot back saying that there can be only one tiger in the forest.
Without naming anyone, Scindia accused his adversaries of trying to malign his image in the last two months and said, “Tiger Abhi Zindaa Hai.” However, it was no secret that the jibe was directed at his old adversary Digvijaya Singh who wasted no time in responding to the comment.
"Do you know the exact character of the tiger? Only one tiger lives in a forest," he wrote in a tweet.
In another tweet on Friday morning, Singh said: "When poaching wasn’t prohibited, I and Madhav Rao Scindia (Jyotiraditya’s father) used to hunt tiger. After Indira ji (Gandhi) introduced Wildlife Protection Act, I have started shooting tigers with cameras.”
जब शिकार प्रतिबंधित नहीं था, तब मैं और श्रीमंत माधवराव सिंधिया जी शेर का शिकार किया करते थे। इंदिरा जी के वाइल्डलाइफ़ कंज़र्वेशन एक्ट लाने के बाद से मैं अब सिर्फ शेर को कैमरे में उतारता हूँ।— digvijaya singh (@digvijaya_28) July 3, 2020
Singh, known for his stinging remarks, also tweeted a compilation of old videos where CM Chouhan and Jyotiraditya Scindia are attacking each other in political rallies. Both leaders can also be heard using the 'Tiger Zindaa Hai' phrase. The video was posted with a caption: “BJP’s future! No one knows how many tigers this cabinet (Shivraj) has revived. Keep watching."
Despite being in the same party for almost two decades, Singh and Scindia were never known for being in the best of terms. Scindia’s exit from Congress is widely believed to be a result of this fallout between the two former royals from Madhya Pradesh.
Meanwhile, Singh also took a potshot at the oath-taking ceremony of the Shivraj cabinet, sharing a picture of the cabinet ministers posing for a photograph with the governor in-charge Anadiben Patel without following social distancing norms.
“Whether an FIR will be lodged? If not, whether it’s an insult to the oath they took on the Constitution and the law?” he asked.
"One tiger (Shivraj) was already present and second (Scindia) is born now. Are you people public servants or man-eaters?", former MPCC president Arun Yadav said.
On being asked about Digvijaya Singh's quip, Scindia said: “Let him say whatever he says."
VD Sharma, the state president of BJP, alleged that hunting was in Singh's nature.
“Hunting is in his nature and it reflected in his statement. Recently, he hunted down Kamal Nath and his government and I wonder whether he now aims at hunting down his party’s top leadership,” said Sharma.
Scindia, while not naming anyone in his statement before the media on Thursday, decided to take his former party colleagues head-on during an event at BJP's headquarters.
“In the last two months, I have been seeing concerted attempts of character assassination and I wish to say to them (Congress) that Tiger abhi zinda hai,” the Scindia family scion had said.
Scindia had borrowed this famous one-liner from his former adversary and now senior party colleague Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who had used this phrase to caution the then Kamal Nath government.
The exchange comes ahead of 24 Assembly by-polls in Madhya Pradesh. The BJP launched its virtual poll campaign on in Bhopal on Friday with an event highlighting the achievements of the Shivraj government during its first 100 days. The Congress has also started preparations by organising a pre-poll event in Dhar’s Badnavar on Friday which will be attended by Kamal Nath.
With 16 of the 24 by-polls due in Scindia’s stronghold Gwalior-Chambal, the verbal duel between Scindia and his former partymen is expected to only intensify in the days to come.