The Maharashtra NCP termed as “impractical” the decision of the state government to make it mandatory for candidates contesting local bodies polls to have toilets at home and sought its reconsideration.
Addressing a press conference, party spokesman Nawab Malik said 70 per cent of people in Mumbai and many urban areas don’t have toilets at home. “They live in slums and chawls. Does the government want poor people to stay away from contesting polls,” he asked.
The party asked that the government reconsidered its decision and also included those using public toilets as eligible for contesting polls.
He said the Congress-NCP government had implemented such a decision in the rural areas some years ago and now the present regime has included the urban areas. “But, in urban areas, many poor people don’t have toilets at home. They use public toilets,” he said.
Malik also alleged that there have been reports that money lenders are recovering their money from poor farmers by taking out their kidneys and demanded a high-level inquiry into the issue.
He also said he received threat purportedly from gangster Ravi Pujari of facing dire consequences if he did not keep his mouth shut. “I don’t know why I received a threat. But I will continue to put forth my party’s views on various issues,” the NCP leader said, adding that he filed a complaint with the Mumbai Crime Branch earlier in the day.
On December 1, the state government had said that toilets are must for contesting local body polls in Maharashtra, a move which came after Haryana, also ruled by BJP, amended the state’s Panchayati Raj Act making toilets at the homes of candidates mandatory for contesting panchayat elections.