New Delhi: Facing the threat of censure motion in Lok Sabha, TMC member Kalyan Banerjee Wednesday expressed regrets over his objectionable remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, over which BJP had strongly protested.
"If I have hurt anyone, I express my regret," he said after Speaker Sumitra Mahajan told him that he should express regret though she cannot force him to do so.
He contended that his remarks made at a public rally in Kolkata last week was "in reaction to the BJP General Secretary saying 'Bhaag Mamata Bhaag' insulting our leader."
He, however, added, "It was not my intention to insult the Prime Minister or show disrespect to Lal Bahadur Shastriji. I respect both of them."
Prior to this, BJP members created uproar over the remarks made by the Trinamool Congress Deputy Leader. They rushed into the aisle and the front rows to demand apology.
Kirit Somaiya (BJP) said there should be "unconditional apology" from him for his remarks against Modi and former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri.
The issue was raised in the House yesterday too by S S Ahluwalia (BJP), after which Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy had warned of bringing a censure motion against the TMC leader if he remained "adamant" and failed to apologise.
After the protests during the Zero Hour today, Banerjee said some members had objected to his statements "made outside the House", adding that it was a "political speech" which should not be discussed inside.
Somaiya immediately got up to say, "We want him to clearly apologise and express regret."
The Speaker, after hearing Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, said "No one becomes small by seeking an apology."
She told Banerjee that since his intention was not to show any disrespect to the leaders, "You could have also added a few words and expressed regrets. ... I can't force anyone to say this and, as I said yesterday, that an apology cannot be extracted from anyone."