Under fire for saying he doesn't wear a face mask in any programme, Madhya Pradesh home minister Narottam Mishra on Thursday admitted that his comment was wrong and expressed regret over it.
Mishra also said he would wear the mask as part of the COVID-19 prevention protocols, and urged others also to do the same and follow the social distancing norms.
The minister on Wednesday said he doesn't wear a face mask in any programme.
When the Congress attacked him, Mishra later tempered his remarks, saying he cannot continue to wear face mask for a long time due to a medical condition.
"My statement was completely wrong and against the sentiments of the honourable Prime Minister (Narendra Modi). My words have caused me immense hurt. I express regret and appeal to all to wear masks and follow COVID -19 protocols," Mishra tweeted in Hindi on Thursday.
"I felt that my statement about masks has caused contempt of the law. It was not in accordance with the Prime Ministers feelings," he said in another tweet.
"I accept my fault and express remorse. I am going to wear mask. I also appeal to the society to wear masks and follow social distancing rules," he added.
On Wednesday, when some reporters in Indore asked Mishra why he was not wearing mask at a function there, he said, "I don't wear a mask in any programmes. 'Isme kya hota hai?' (so what)."
The Congress later attacked him, asking if COVID-19 norms are meant only for the common people.
"Is there anyone who has the courage to take action against him (Mishra). Are rules only for common people?" Madhya Pradesh Congress spokesman Narendra Saluja tweeted.
As his remarks drew fire, the home minister said, "I normally wear a mask but I can't sport it for a long time, as I am suffering from Polypus and if I wear a mask it leads to suffocation".
Mishra served as the health minister of Madhya Pradesh from April to July this year.