The Opposition in the Uttarakhand Assembly has demanded an apology from Governor-designate Aziz Qureshi for his statement on ‘Nehru-Gandhi family' loyalty.

A senior Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh Minister, Mr. Qureshi, drew flak after he said his continued loyalty to the Gandhi family had paid off.

Uttarakhand Minister and Congress chief Yashpal Arya, however, described the statement as an off-the-cuff remark by a simple senior statesman. “I am sure Mr. Qureshi will prove a very judicious Governor,” Mr. Arya said urging the Opposition not to smell a rat everywhere.

But State BJP chief Bishen Singh Chufal said Mr. Qureshi should first apologise to the nation for having lowered the dignity of the Governor's office by saying that he had got the job as a reward for his loyalty to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and his longstanding service to the Nehru-Gandhi family.

BSP leader Suraj Mal said Mr. Qureshi did not deserve the job.

Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (Panwar) chief Trivendra Singh Panwar said: “Mr. Qureshi's statement was not in keeping with the stature of a Governor.”

A section of the bureaucracy, while describing the statement as an immature act, expressed the hope that Mr. Qureshi would retract his statement and mend fences with the Opposition.