BHOPAL: Congress MLA Baijnath Kushwaha kicked up a row by claiming several great kings, including Prithviraj Chauhan, lost their kingdoms and legacy due to their love for alcohol.
A video of his speech, delivered at a school, went viral on social media, prompting condemnation from the opposition BJP.
Addressing a gathering in a private school to mark the Children's Day in Morena on Thursday, Sabalgarh MLA Kushwaha said, "Delhi's King Prithviraj Chauhan, King Parimal of Mahoba and King Jaychand of Kannauj have been great kings. But, due to this (making a hand gesture to denote drinking), now bats are flying in their forts and palaces, and no one is left to take their names."
"Therefore, never touch liquor," he told the children assembled there.
After the controversy, Kushwaha expressed regret in a written statement issued on Thursday evening.
It read, "In my speech today on the occasion of Children's Day, in a bid to motivate students, I told the students about all the great men and kings. But it was not my intention to insult any person, caste, religion or sect. If my statement hurt anyone's feelings, then I apologize to all such people."
The MP BJP hit out and said the statement reflects the mindset of Congress leaders towards the country's great personalities.
"Kushwaha disgraced great personalities of our history in his speech in front of young students. His apology outside doesn't matter. He should go to the school and express regret," state BJP spokesperson Rajneesh Agrawal said.
"This speech shows the mindset of Congress leaders towards our great leaders and personalities. The Congress only cares about the Nehru-Gandhi family. The ruling party of the state should take action against Kushwaha," Agrawal added.
The Congress, however, maintained the issue ended with the MLA's apology.
"Congress respects all great leaders and personalities. Kushwaha's statement was misinterpreted. His intention was not to show disrespect to these personalities. He has already apologised for his statement," MP Congress spokesperson Pankaj Chaturvedi said.