Toilets first, temples later, says Narendra Modi

Narendra Modi on LoosBJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi said the country should build toilets first and then temples. (Reuters)

Build toilets first and temples later, said Hindutva icon and BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Wednesday.

Speaking at a function organised in New Delhi for the youth, Modi said he dared to say so even though his image as a Hindutva leader did not allow him.

Modi announces Rs 300-cr public toilets scheme for urban poor

"I am known to be a Hindutva leader. My image does not permit to say so, but I dare to say. My real thought is – Pehle shauchalaya, phir devalaya' (toilets first, temple later)," he said.

The Gujarat Chief Minister's comment could well stoke a controversy from within his party and sister organisations, which are keen to rake up the "temple issue" again ahead of next general elections.

A similar comment on toilets from Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh that the country needs more toilets than temples had stirred a row with a large number of women organisations and NGOs protesting against the remark.

Jairam Ramesh says toilets more important in India than temples

Touting the slogan of development that could take the country on the path of speedy progress, Modi said lakhs of rupees were spent on temples in villages, but there were no toilets there.

Invoking Mahatma Gandhi's thoughts, he lamented that it was ironic that women in the country had to go in the open for easing themselves in the absence of toilets.

Modi said it was the quality of a real leader to have the strength to handle all problems and lead the way forward.

He said that for good governance and speedy progress, it was necessary for planners to focus on outlay, outcome and social audit.

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