By Viscount Francis K’Owuor,
November 21th, 2017,
Resignation demands have been made against a minister from India’s ruling party for urinating in the open, against government policy that has been calling on the people to use toilets.
A video footage showing Ram Shinde relieving himself in a field in Maharashtra has been trending on social media.
The opposition has said that such an indecent and embarrassing act by a minister shows that PM Narendra Modi’s cleanliness campaign has failed.
However, the minister defended himself saying he had to answer to the call of nature because he felt unwell at a place where there was no toilet.
Shinde, who is state minister for water conservation, said he had been travelling for the last month reviewing an irrigation scheme when he was caught short on a stretch of road between Barshi and Solapur in south-west Maharashtra on Saturday.
“Continuous travelling in high temperatures and dust made me ill. I was also suffering from fever,” the minister said.
But Maharashtra’s main opposition Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) said the fact the minister could not find a toilet on a main road showed the government had failed in its mission to provide toilets in public spaces.
“How can the prime minister expect people to follow discipline when his own ministers are a bunch of undisciplined people?”
The government has so far helped install more than 50 million lavatories across the country of 1.25 billion people and has been encouraging citizens to break old habits and use them.
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