New Delhi: The BJP on Wednesday welcomed Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde's statement expressing regret over his Hindu terror remarks but maintained that had he done so earlier it would not have "gladdened the hearts" of terrorists based in Pakistan.
"We accept this regret from the Home Minister but this ought to have come much earlier. Shinde's comment against the RSS and the BJP was totally unwarranted, baseless and malicious. If Mr Shinde knew that what has spoken was incorrect he ought to have accepted his mistake earlier graciously," BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told PTI.
He maintained that the delay in Shinde's statement expressing regret had created a condition which "gladdened the hearts of terrorists and their patrons in Pakistan". Chief of Pakistan-based terror outfit JuD Hafiz Saeed had welcomed Shinde's Hindu terror remarks.
BJP sources said the party will not raise this issue in Parliament and the matter is closed after Shinde's regret. "We hope and trust that Shinde will be cautious in his comments about nationalistic organisation like the BJP and RSS in future and not repeat this again," Prasad said.
BJP had spoken firmly against the remarks made by Shinde at the Congress 'chintan shivir' in Jaipur. Soon after taking over as BJP president, Rajnath Singh had demanded that Shinde should withdraw his remarks and tender an apology.
Sources said Shinde had sent a draft of the regret statement to Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj earlier but that was rejected by the BJP. Shinde's statement today was issued after BJP expressed its satisfaction over its wording, the sources said.
BJP's NDA ally Shiv Sena hailed the statement issued by Shinde. "With the statement, the issue is over for us," party general secretary Sanjay Raut said.