Under attack over a statement his detractors took umbrage at, BJP President Nitin Gadkari today denied comparing Swami Vivekananda with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and expressed "sincere regrets" over the hurt to public sentiments caused by his remarks.
"I would like to reiterate that I never compared Swami Vivekananda with anyone. I had absolutely no no intention to project Swami Vivekananda in bad light.
"If my words about Swami Vivekananda have hurt the public sentiments in any manner, I express my sincere regrets," he said in a statement.
Gadkari's speech in a speech in Bhopal on Sunday that appeared to compare the Intelligence Quotient of Swami Vivekananda and Ibrahim had come under attack from his political rivals.
"As per psychology, if we can compare the IQ level of Swami Vivekananda and that of Dawood Ibrahim, then it could have been the same. But Vivekananda used it in nation building, brotherhood and spiritualism, while Dawood used that in excelling in crime world," Gadkari was reported to have said in that speech.
Today, the BJP president clarified that Swami Vivekananda has always been a source of inspiration for everyone in BJP.
"My personal reverence for Swami Vivekananda is second to none. In that context, I had referred to Swami Vivekananda dedicating his intellect for the welfare of humanity," he said adding, "I am deeply pained to note that my words have been taken out of context to create confusion."