NATIONAL

Minister regrets comment about Gandhiji

Special Correspondent

JAIPUR: Rajasthan Social Welfare Minister Madan Dilwar, who allegedly questioned the status of Father of the Nation for Mahatma Gandhi, on Saturday expressed regret and blamed the media for "twisting" his statement and misrepresenting facts.

Mr. Dilwar, now on a confrontation course with Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, reportedly said in an interview to a television channel that giving the status to Gandhiji was a "conspiracy" by the Congress.

His comments invited sharp criticism from all around and also led to the Independent MLA from Baran, Pramod Jain `Baya,' filing an FIR against him on Friday at the Kothwali police station in Baran town.

While Mr. Jain in his complaint said Mr. Dilwar's comments hurt the sentiments of the whole nation, Pradesh Congress Committee president B.D. Kalla demanded the removal of the Minister.

The Minister, who was divested of his Cooperatives portfolio a fortnight ago after tiffs with the group supporting Ms. Raje, in his statement said the Mahatma was "respectable and adorable" for him. "I don't think it is proper for anyone to say anything to reduce his status... "