New Delhi: In the eye of a massive storm for a hate speech she made in Delhi yesterday, union minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti said today that she has apologised in Parliament and asked, "What more can I do?"
"I have apologised in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. If my speech hurt anyone, I take back my words... I have expressed regret. They demanded an apology, I have apologized. What more can I do?" said the minister on the huge controversy that has rocked Parliament since this morning.
At a public rally in Delhi on Monday, the Sadhvi had used an expletive when she said, "You have to decide. Do you want a government of Ramzaadon (followers of Ram) or those who are illegitimate?"
Later, she said her statement was directed at "those who don't believe in Ram and in a unified India." She said, "All are Ram's children, be it Muslims or Christians. Those who don't believe in this are not true Indians."
Amid a furious opposition's demand on Tuesday that she be sacked and criminally charged, the Sadhvi has said that her comments must not be given communal overtones. "I did not take the name of any particular individual, community or party," she told reporters on Tuesday morning.
In Parliament, Ms Jyoti, a first time member of the Lok Sabha, said, "It was not my intention to offend anybody. I express regret from my heart and withdraw my words."
But the Opposition has said the apology is not enough. "She has committed an offence... and till an investigation is over, she can't remain a minister. Her apology is an admission of her crime," said CPM leader Sitaram Yechury in the Rajya Sabha.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has argued with the minister withdrawing her words, the matter must end in the house.
The minster's apology came soon after a sharp warning from Prime Minister Narendra Modi who reportedly cautioned party MPs at a meeting today, saying, "Do not address the nation. There will be no compromise on this."