Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday expressed 'sincere regret' for comparing spiritual leader Swami Vivekananda's intelligence quotient (IQ) to that of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim's.
"Swami Vivekananda has always been a source of inspiration for all of us in the BJP. My personal reverence for Swami Vivekananda is second to none. In that context I had referred to Swami Vivekananda dedicating his intellect for the welfare of humanity," Gadkari said in a press statement.
"I am deeply pained to note that my words have been taken out of context to create confusion," he said.
"I would like to reiterate that I never compared Swami Vivekananda with anyone. I had absolutely no intention to project Swami Vivekananda in bad light. If my words about Swami Vivekananda have hurt the public sentiments in any manner, I express my sincere regrets," Gadkari said.
Earlier on Monday, Gadkari said his remarks were ´misrepresented´.
"I did not make any comparison between Swami Vivekananda & Dawood Ibrahim. What I said was represented in wrong way," Gadkari told media.
He said: "I only said those who use their IQ wisely are like Swami Vivekananda and those who do not use it properly are like Dawood Ibrahim."
Gadkari dragged himself into controversy when he said the intelligence quotient level of Swami Vivekananda and Dawood was almost the same.
Speaking at an event, he said: "As per psychology, if we compare the IQ level of Swami Vivekananda and that of Dawood Ibrahim, it could have almost been the same."
"But Vivekananda used it in nation building, brotherhood and spiritualism while Dawood used that in excelling in the crime world," Gadkari added,
According to reports, the BJP president said this trying to drive home his point that gender discrimination was unfair and that people should be judged based on their qualities.
The BJP sees Swami Vivekananda as one of its chief inspirations.