Sanjay Raut has withdrawn his controversial remark on Indira Gandhi. (PTI)
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Wednesday said former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi used to meet infamous underworld don Karim Lala in Mumbai. He has now said if his colleagues in Congress feel hurt, he will retract the statement.
"Our friends from Congress need not feel hurt. If someone feels that my statement has hurt the image of Indira Gandhi ji or hurt someone's feelings, I take back my statement," said Sanjay Raut on Thursday, hours after his remark on Indira Gandhi angered many.
"In the past, I have taken her (Gandhi's) side and argued with people who tried to malign her image. In such cases, some Congress leaders had remained silent," Sanjay Raut said.
During an interview to the Lokmat media group at its award function in Pune on Wednesday, Raut claimed that "Indira Gandhi used to meet Karim Lala in Pydhonie (in south Mumbai)."
Congress leaders Milind Deora and Sanjay Nirupam on Thursday morning asked Sanjay Raut to withdraw his "ill-informed" remarks.
Sanjay Nirupam went ahead and said Raut should just stick to entertaining people in Maharashtra with his poetry.
After Raut's remarks on Indira Gandhi, BJP leaders immediately lapped up the opportunity to attack Congress. Former CM Devendra Fadnavis questioned if (at that time) it was the beginning of "criminalisation of politics" in the state, and if the Congress "supported" those who attacked Mumbai.
The BJP leader sought an explanation from the Congress leadership over Raut's comments and asked why the party was silent on such "allegations" against their former leader.