NEW DELHI: Congress's Shatrughan Sinha dismissed his recent “Jinnah” remark as a “slip of tongue” in an effort to defuse the controversy surrounding it.
“Whatever I said yesterday was slip of tongue. I wanted to say Maulana Azad but uttered Muhammad Ali Jinnah,” said the actor-turned-politician.
When asked if he regrets his comment, Shatrughan shot back, “(Regret) For what? If there's a quick clarification for a slip of tongue, explaining that I didn't say it, why will I regret it?”
Shatrughan, who recently left the Bharatiya Janata Party and joined the Congress, has been fielded from Bihar's Patna Sahib.
While campaigning for Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath's son Nakul Nath on Friday, Shatrughan that both Mahatma Gandhi and Mohammad Ali Jinnah played a roled in Indian independence.
“Ye Congress parivar Mahatma Gandhi se leke, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel se leke, Muhammad Ali Jinnah se leke, Jawaharlal Nehru se leke, swargiya Indira Gandhi se leke, Rajiv Gandhi se leke aur Rahul Gandhi se leke inki party hai jinka desh ke vikas me, desh ki tarakki me, desh ki azadi me sabse mehatvapurna aur sabse bada yogdaan hua, isliye hum yaha aye (This is the Congress family that starts from Mahatma Gandhi, to Sardar Vallabbhai Patel, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, and Subhas Chandra Bose, it's their party. They played the most important role in country's development and independence and so I joined their party. I have joined their party and will never leave the party),” said Sinha.
Nakul Nath is contesting from the Chhindwara Lok Sabha parliamentary constituency against BJP's Nathan Shah.
Several Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders including BJP national spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain and Minority Affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi slammed Sinha for the remark.
"Looks like Jinnah's spirit has entered Shatrughan's body," Naqvi said.
Soon after joining Congress on April 6, Sinha made a faux pas after referring to senior party leader Shaktisinh Gohil as the 'backbone' of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Realising his mistake soon after, Shatrughan entered damage control mode, and "I think you all are mature enough to understand it wasn't deliberate."
Shatrughan is contesting the general elections as a Congress candidate from the Patna Sahib Lok Sabha seat where he will face Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.