Facing flak over his presence at a religious conversion event where Hindu deities were allegedly denounced, Delhi minister Rajendra Pal Gautam Friday accused the BJP of spreading "rumours" against him, and apologised to "anyone who has been hurt due to such propaganda".
The Delhi social welfare minister found himself in the middle of a controversy on Friday after a video went viral, showing him attending the event on October 5 when hundreds take a pledge to convert to Buddhism and not consider Hindu deities as gods.
The BJP launched an attack on Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, asking him to sack Mr Gautam.
At a press conference, BJP national spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia accused the AAP of hurting the sentiments of Hindus. "Gautam's comments highlight the hate the party has for the community," he said, adding the "comments were made at the behest of Kejriwal".
There was no official reaction either from the Aam Aadmi Party or the Delhi government, but sources in the AAP claimed the chief minister was "extremely displeased" with Mr Gautam.
Mr Gautam issued a statement in Hindi later in the day, accusing the BJP of spreading "rumour" against him and sought apology from "anyone who has been hurt due to such propaganda." He said he learnt through media that the BJP was spreading "rumour" against him. "I am a deeply religious person. I personally respect all the gods and the goddesses and would not even dream of insulting any deity through any action or word of mine." The minister said he raised the issues of education, health, employment, price rise and social equality in his speech at the event, but BJP leaders were spreading "rumour" against him.
"I am deeply hurt by this mischief of BJP leaders and seek apology with folded hands from anyone who has been hurt in any way due to such propaganda by the BJP," he said in the statement.
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