Rahul Gandhi could have apologised or withdrawn the comments for which he was sentenced by a Surat court, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Saturday.
A slip of tongue sometimes happens and ''we have experienced it too, but we issue a statement apologising, saying it was unintentional. Gandhi could have done the same and the matter would have ended there'', Sarma said on the sidelines of a programme here.
Gandhi, however, did not apologise nor withdraw the comments over the last five years which goes to ''show that it was intentional and made to abuse the OBC community,''Sarma claimed, referring to the Surat court's verdict convicting Gandhi in a defamation case and subsequent disqualification as a Lok Sabha MP.
Other chief ministers in the eastern region, many ruled by opposition parties have however come out against the disqualification.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday without naming Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, said the country is witnessing a new low in a constitutional democracy.
“In PM Modi's New India, Opposition leaders have become the prime target of BJP ! While BJP leaders with criminal antecedents are inducted into the cabinet, opposition leaders are disqualified for their speeches," the fiery TMC Supremo said in a tweet.
Similarly, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren too on Friday attacked the BJP-led government at the Centre , terming the disqualification 'Aapat Kaal' (emergency) for the nation.
"In today's 'Amrit Kaal' Opposition leaders are being coerced and silenced by using every tool of power by BJP and the Centre," Soren said in a tweet.
"It is not that he had to apologise to any BJP members or Prime Minister Narendra Modi but he did not do so and showed his arrogance'', the Assam Chief Minister on Saturday said.
''This is a judicial process....a cycle and there is nothing political in it. The decision has been taken after a prolonged judicial process of five years'', he said.
The chief minister referring to the judgement said ''Karma (destiny) has eventually caught up with him." However, he indicated that judicial recourse remained is open, and Gandhi ''can challenge the verdict in the High court or Supreme Court'', the Chief minister added.