Narendra Modi's toilet remark draws Jairam Ramesh repartee

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Oct 4 2013, 03:41am hrs
Narendra ModiNarendra Modi would "rewrite Dashavatar before Lok Sabha polls, says Jairam Ramesh.
Union Minister Jairam Ramesh, who had come under attack from Sangh outfits months back for favouring toilets over temples, today targeted Narendra Modi for speaking on the same lines, saying it was borne out of his "blind desire for Prime Ministers post".

Jairam Ramesh said it was not Narendra Modi's "conviction" but "compulsion" that made him say so yesterday and that his "enlightenment" should have come before Ayodhya demolition in 1992.

"I am very happy that the Gujarat Chief Minister has finally found enlightenment and recognised the importance of toilets...It is not conviction that has made Mr Narendra Modi say this. It is compulsion," he said.

The Rural Development Minister was reacting to Narendra Modi's remarks that toilets were the priority over temples.

"I am glad that the Gujarat Chief Minister has got enlightenment even if it is an enlightenment borne out of compulsion, even if it is enlightenment borne out of the blind desire for the Prime Minister's post," he said.

He added, "I wish if he (Narendra Modi) had got this enlightenment 22 years ago, India would have been spared the Babri Masjid tragedy, India would have been spared the communal riots in diferrent parts of the country, India would have been spared the Bombay blasts and indeed India may have been spared Godhra and what happened afterwards."

Jairam Ramesh, while holding the portfolio of Sanitation, had last year said "there are more temples in the country than toilets". This had triggered protests by Sangh parivar outfits like VHP and Bajrang Dal, whose activists even urinated outside his official residence here.

Referring to that episode, the Minister asked why are the Sangh outfits silent today.

Jairam Ramesh said his own statement about preferring toilets over temple was out of conviction while that of Modi was out of compulsion.

Going further to attack Narendra Modi, the Union Minister pointed out deficiencies in Gujarat in terms of toilets.

"The census of 2011 revealed only 34 per cent of Gujarat was covered by sanitation. This is the story of Gujarat. The so-called Gujarat model is a model based on half truths, falsehoods and gross exaggerations," he said.

Accusing the BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate of changing his approach towards various issues including temples and toilets, Jairam Ramesh said Narendra Modi would "rewrite (Lord Vishnu's mythological) Dashavatar before Lok Sabha polls and we will need a new serial mythology called shatavatar with the 100 incarnation of Mr Narendra Modi."

He added, "But this particular incarnation of a man who gives more priority to toilets than the places of worship is something that I think should be welcomed by everybody."

Referring to the urination by Sangh activists in front of his house last year, Jairam Ramesh said it shows that toilets are less important than temples for them.

"Where is Mr Rajiv Pratap Rudy who accused me of destroying the fine fabric of faith and religion Where is Mr Prakash Javadekar who waxed eloquent on how I had defame religion All these people are quiet today," he asked.

The Minister asked Modi whether he agrees with late BSP leader Kanshi Ram who had said during the BJP's Ayodhya movement that the solution to the Ayodhya controversy is to build a giant sanitation complex.