AJMER – A minister from the northern Indian state of Rajasthan courted controversy on Monday after a photograph of him urinating near a wall, very close to a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) poster, went viral on social media.
Shambhu Singh Khetasar, who is the chairman of Rajasthan State Seeds Corporation, brazenly defended himself urinating publicly near a BJP rally venue in Ajmer on Sunday. He said urinating in the open was “an age-old tradition”, according to reports in Indian media, claiming that urination alone dosen’t contribute to uncleanliness.
The minister also dismissed concerns that the spot where he urinated was close to the venue for a BJP election rally, which he said was attended by around 250,000 people. “There was no urinal nearby for kilometres at a stretch and I was busy working since morning,” Khatesar told news agency ANI.
Khetasar insited his actions didn’t flout Narendra Modi government’s Clean India Mission as urinating in a secluded area was not an issue. “It isn’t right to urinate in open but it’s a nature’s call. Urinating in a crowded area is wrong as it causes diseases,” he said.
His remarks come at a time when 27 out of 33 districts in Rajasthan have been declared open-defecation free, according to data on the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) site.