Karnataka Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Wednesday claimed that people are now scared of those who wear a tilak, or vermilion, on their forehead. The former chief minister blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party for this supposed fear.

“Tilaka and saffron are essential part of Hindu culture and has sanctity to it,” he wrote on Twitter. “But since when BJP tried to appropriate and abuse these symbols for their political gains, people have started fearing and doubting those who use these symbols.”

In a possible dig at Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath, Siddaramaiah said a chief minister from BJP wears tilak on his forehead, but has a lot of criminal cases against him. “Will people respect him or feel scared of him?” the Congress leader asked.

Siddaramaiah had on Tuesday visited his home constituency of Badami, News18 reported. While instructing a tehsildar, the Congress leader reportedly asked local officials about the contractor of the Agasthya lake rejuvenation project. When the contractor was pointed out to him, Siddaramaiah observed that he was wearing “kumkum” on his forehead and asked him if he will do the work properly. He later told him to finish the project on time and said: “I am scared of people who put long tikas with kumkum or ash.”