Maharashtra minister Aaditya Thackeray on Thursday said Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray had immense respect for Indira Gandhi and claimed party leader Sanjay Raut's controversial statements on the former prime minister were taken out of context.
Mr Raut, a Shiv Sena MP, on Wednesday set-off a political storm with his remarks that the former Prime Minister had met gangster Karim Lala in Mumbai.
As the Congress, part of the ruling coalition, took strong objection to the controversial comments, calling Shiv Sena "ill-informed", Mr Raut on Thursday withdrew the remarks.
Speaking to reporters in Mumbai, Aaditya Thackeray said workers of his party will never make any unpleasant remark against the former Prime Minister.
"Sanjay Raut's statement was taken out of context. With the kind of respect late Balasaheb Thackeray had for late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, I do not think there will be any unpleasant remark from Sena workers," Aaditya Thackeray said.
"Kareem Lalaji was a Pathan leader. What he became later is unknown to me. It was Rautji's observation about a meeting, but the issue is over now," he said, seeking to put an end of the controversy after Mr Raut withdrew the remarks.
Before taking back his comments, Mr Raut said his words were "twisted" by those unaware of Mumbai's history as he meant that Gandhi met Lala in his capacity as a representative of the Pathan community.