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India's Modi and rivals claw for credit over Project Tiger success

Prime minister's safari adds to drama of bitter state election in Karnataka

Tigers in India's Ranthambore National Park: The latest census released this month shows the country's tiger population reached 3,167 in 2022, after five decades of conservation efforts.   © AP

NEW DELHI -- A tiger conservation success story has turned into a sparring match between India's political parties, highlighting the charged atmosphere in the country ahead of key assembly polls next month and a general election in 2024.

The opposition Indian National Congress party last week lashed out at the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, claiming that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the party were taking "undue credit" for Project Tiger, a conservation initiative launched in 1973 by Congress' then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to protect the country's big cats.

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