Mumbai, Dec 6 (PTI) BJP minister in Maharashtra Ram Shinde stoked a controversy Thursday by advising scarcity-hit farmers to shift their cattle to relative’s place.

Shinde was speaking with some local people in a rural area of Pathardi tehsil of Ahmednagar district.

Besides holding the water conservation portfolio, he is also the guardian minister of Ahmednagar district.

A video aired by some news channels showed a man asking him about the government’s planned measures to ease the water scarcity.

“….If you do not have enough water, transfer your cattle to your relative living in nearby village where water and fodder are available,” Shinde told him.

Opposition Congress called his statement as insensitive, as the water situation in the state is very grim and likely to worsen in coming days.

Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said, “This is Shinde’s real face. He has crossed the line. This comes after massive corruption in Jalyukta Shivar (local-level water conservation) scheme.”

Shinde defended himself, saying there was nothing new in what he suggested.

“It is a routine practise in our area, where we shift cattle to relative’s place when water is scarce. I was not being insensitive or indifferent to the issue,” he said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.