Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, whose recent statement on April 6 stirred a hornet's nest said in Mumbai on Monday that his crass remark was one of his biggest mistakes in his political life.
"I feel that my statement a couple of days ago is one of the biggest mistakes in my political life. I apologise for it and request the people to forgive me," Pawar told reporters.
Earlier in the day, he apologised to the legislature and to the people of the state, by issuing a clarification on the floor of both Houses.
On Monday, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan faced a virtual gherao as Bharatiya Janata Party, Shiv Sena and other opposition legislators waved banners and carried placards that read: No Apology, Only Resignation!
Sensing the mood of the house, Pawar offered yet another apology but the opposition insisted that he quit the ministry.
"My comments on Saturday were not directed towards drought-affected people and I had no intention to hurt anybody's sentiments. I hope my comments will not affect drought relief measures which will continue vigorously," he said in the Assembly, where the Opposition twice forced adjournment of the proceedings.
"The statement made by me on Saturday, April 6, 2013, during a programme was not intended towards the drought- affected people. Also, it was never my intention to hurt anybody s sentiments," Pawar told the Legislative Council where too he came under severe attack by the Opposition.
"It is true that I should have spoken responsibly," said Pawar, adding since the sentiments of the people and legislators had been hurt, "I apologise to all".
"We are committed to providing water to the drought- affected people, fodder for the cattle and fee-waiver for the students," he said, as the furious Opposition disrupted the proceedings, forcing the chair to adjourn proceedings thrice.
"If there is no water in the dam...Should we urinate into it?," he had said in an insensitive comment at a function at Indapur near Pune that kicked up a controversy in the state reeling under severe drought.
The NCP leader followed it up with another remark poking fun at load-shedding in the state, saying, "I have noticed that more children are being born since the lights go off at night. There is no other work left then."
Ajit's uncle and NCP chief Sharad Pawar also apologised for his remarks saying they were "unwanted" while the BJP state unit demanded his resignation.
Regretting the remarks made by his nephew, Sharad Pawar said, "I duly apologise on the behalf of Deputy CM of Maharashtra for the unwanted comments that he had made," he said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
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