Facing backlash from both the opposition as well as her party for calling Mahatma Gandhi's assassin a "patriot", BJP's Bhopal Lok Sabha seat candidate and Malegaon blast accused Pragya Singh Thakur apologised and retracted her remark.
"It was my personal opinion remark. My intention was not to hurt anyone's sentiments. If I've hurt anyone I do apologise. What Gandhi Ji has done for the country cannot be forgotten. My statement has been twisted by the media," she said.
Earlier, refraining from categorical apology, Thakur had said that "party's line is my line".
Meanwhile, BJP leader Hitesh Bajpai, speaking on her behalf, had said that she has apologised for her remark, Thakur refrained from categorical apology.
When asked whether she has apologised to the state BJP president, Rakesh Singh, Bajpai said, "That is not an issue, but she has apologised and took back her statement."
Responding to a question over actor-turned politician Kamal Haasan's remarks that free India's first terrorist was a Hindu", a reference to Nathuram Godse, Thakur had said: "Nathuram Godse was a deshbhakt (patriot), he is and will remain a deshbhakt. Those calling him a terrorist should instead look at themselves. They will be given a befitting reply in this election."
Her remarks drew sharp criticism from the opposition, which sought an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"It is clear, the BJP people are the descendants of Godse. BJP people say Godse was a patriot and martyr Hemant Karkare was a traitor. Culture of violence and insulting martyrs is the DNA of the BJP," Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.
"Modi-Amit Shah ji's favourite BJP leader, Pragya Thakur once again insulted the whole nation by calling Gandhi's killer, Nathuram Godse 'a true patriot'," he said in a statement.
The BJP, however, condemned her statement and asked her to tender a public apology.
"We completely disagree with her statement with regard to Mahatma Gandhi. We strongly condemn this statement. The party will seek clarification from her as to why she gave this. It would be proper for her to seek and tender a public apology for her objectionable statement," BJP spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao said in a statement in Delhi.
Earlier also Thakur found herself in the eye of a storm for her controversial statements that her "curse" killed decorated IPS officer Karkare in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack and that she was proud to have participated in the 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya.