New Delhi: A day after kicking up a row, BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj was on Friday forced by a united opposition to express regret in the Lok Sabha for describing Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse as a 'patriot', a remark that was condemned by the government too.
The House saw Congress President Sonia Gandhi leading the opposition members in raising slogans against the government and the BJP member.
Disapproving of the disruption, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan sarcastically said that from tomorrow she will set aside the first five minutes for apologies.
She asked Sakshi Maharaj to express regret.
The BJP member said he respects the Mahatma and the House and "I withdraw my remarks if those have hurt anybody's sentiments."
He went on to add, "..My friends have no issue...Godse killed Gandhi long back but you killed the Mahatma's ideology in 1984 during anti-Sikh riots."
The opposition members were still agitated, saying Sakshi Maharaj's remarks had hurt the sentiments of all the countrymen and he should apologise unconditionally.
Leader of Congress party Mallikarjun Kharge said the opposition will not allow the government to have its way just because it has majority.
As the din continued, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said the member has already withdrawn his remarks. The government and the party "condemns" and "dissociate" themselves from such comments, he added.
At the same time, he attacked the Congress members, saying Mahatma Gandhi never indulged in or approved of such a conduct or threatened anyone.
The Speaker then again prodded Sakshi Maharaj, who said "I express regret before the House and the country."
A Pakistani delegation of legislators was in the Speaker's Gallery watching the proceedings.