Under fire for his comments that the rise in petrol and diesel prices doesn't bother him as he is a minister, Ramdas Athawale on Sunday regretted his remarks and said he had no intention of hurting the sentiments of the common man.
In a statement issued in Mumbai, Athawale, a BJP ally and the Union Minister of State for Social Justice, said he understands people are getting affected by the rising fuel prices.
"I do understand the feelings of people who are getting affected by the rising fuel prices. I had no intention of hurting the sentiments of the common man," said the minister, who heads the Republican Party of India (Athawale)
The Rajya Sabha member said he is aware of the problems being faced by the common man due to the escalating prices of petrol and diesel and his party had in fact opposed the increase in fuel rates.
"I have come from a very humble background. I am well aware of the problems being faced by the common man in this country due to the escalating prices of petrol and diesel," he said. "My party has even opposed the price rise of fuel. I cannot be unconcerned towards the woes of people. I have never ever hurt people's feelings."
Athawale made the controversial remarks at a press conference at Jaipur Saturday.
"I am not suffering from rising fuel prices as I am a minister," he had said, referring to the allowances he gets.
"I may suffer if I lose my ministerial post," he had said.
Athawale was asked if he was personally affected by the rising fuel prices.
However, at the same press meet, the minister acknowledged that others are affected more by the rising prices of petrol and diesel.
The price of fuel can be reduced if the states cut the tax on it. The Centre is seriously working on the issue, he had said at the press conference.