Ramesh said that it was not Modi's "conviction" but "compulsion" that made him say so. "I am very happy that the Gujarat Chief Minister has finally found enlightenment and recognized the importance of toilets. It is not conviction that has made Mr Modi say this. It is compulsion," he said.

"I wish if he (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 different parts of the country, India would have been spared the Bombay blasts and indeed India may have been spared Godhra and what happened afterwards,” he said.

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 in New Delhi.

 “Why the Sangh outfits are are silent today,” the Minister questioned. Ramesh said that his own statement about preferring toilets over temple was out of conviction while that of Modi was out of compulsion.

The Union Minister also pointed out deficiencies in Gujarat in terms of toilets. "The census of 2011 revealed only 34 percent 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, Ramesh said, “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 Modi."

"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 defamed religion? All these people are quiet today," he said.

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

(Agencies)

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