Rajasthan leader of opposition and senior BJP leader Gulab Chand Kataria has apologised a third time for his statements on Rajput king Maharana Pratap which kicked up a controversy and generated protests across the state.
Rajput organisations and the Congress party have attacked Kataria for his statements despite the leader tendering apologies twice saying he did not mean to hurt sentiments.
The Rajput community has traditionally been BJP supporters in Rajasthan and Kataria’s comments put the party on the backfoot. The BJP distanced itself from Kataria’s statements and also withdrew him from the campaign for the by-poll and his pictures were taken off the party’s posters.
Kataria made the comments while addressing an election meeting in Rajsamand on April 13. Kataria spoke about how Indians had fought off invaders for 1000 years. In a reference to Maharana Pratap, Kataria said “Did a rabid dog bite him that he left his capital and home and roamed the jungles? For whom did he give up everything?”
The comments drew widespread flak from Rajput organisations and social organisations who protested on the streets and on social media. Kataria also received death threats. Some youth from Alola village in Bhilwara district posted a video on social media in which they shot at an effigy of Kataria.
Kataria used the occasion of Mahavir Jayanti on Sunday to apologise for the third time. In a statement, Kataria said, “I am a follower of Jainism and we have been taught that forgiveness is the ornament of the brave. We seek forgiveness when we err and we also forgive from the heart. I would like to sincerely apologise to all those who have been hurt by my statement and I have faith that you will forgive me.”