Can you imagine any minister in the current union government sharing the stage and having a nice time with someone who has a sharp tongue when speaking of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on social media and regularly criticizes him? What if we tell you that this man doesn't just criticize PM Modi but even, to some degree insults him?
Something like this happened on March 1 when Union Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs Kiren Rijiju was present at the opening ceremony of Pro Panja League – a tournament for the leading arm wrestlers of the country. The most prominent sportsperson who was present at the ceremony, and even had a friendly match with the minister, is somebody who regularly posts snarky comments about BJP and the PM.
It was none other than Olympic bronze medalist and leading professional boxer from India Vijender Singh. For those who are not aware, Vijender is a member of the Congress Party and even contested the Lok Sabha elections of 2019 on a Congress ticket. But that's only half the story!
Vijender is very active on social media and regularly targets the central government. He also doesn't withhold his verbal punches when talking about PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. Just one look at his Twitter timeline reveals this.
On February 17, he tweeted a graph showing how the current NDA government has outdone previous administrations in sale of public sector assets and wrote along with it: "Brother, somebody had said, 'Desh nahi bikne doonga (I won't let the country be sold.)' He was true to his word, didn't let the country be sold but auctioned it away." This was a clear attack at PM Modi.
Then, just prior to the visit of US President Donald Trump, Vijender shared a tweet of someone which said: "A person who can fool the American President, imagine, how many people of this country he must have fooled." Vijender responded to that tweet by saying "Khatarnaak (Killed it!)" with a laughing emoji. Again, one can easily understand whom he was targeting.
The most shocking retweet by Vijender was one where a man quotes union minister Giriraj Singh's statement where the latter had said that people can make a lot of money by adopting four animals, and then says, "Look at Ambani, he is making Crores through two donkeys." Vijender again wrote "Khatarnaak" with a laughing out loud emoji.
But enough about retweets, he even made some controversial comments himself on this platform. "Friends, these people came to power through lying, now they are not able to handle the situation. #DelhiRiots," was one of those. In another one, he said, "They will turn the whole country into Gujarat but there is still time (to save the situation)."
When actor and former parliamentarian Paresh Rawal advised Vijender on Twitter to understand the difference between boxing and bakwaas (nonsense), he responded: "Sir, I know boxing, but am learning to speak nonsense from two people these days." Again, no prizes for guessing who those 'two people' are.
In all likelihood, Minister Rijiju isn't aware of these comments and that's why had no problem sharing the stage, engaging in a friendly match, and even sitting next to him. One wonders how people in the BJP would react to this?