New Delhi, Jul 26 (Agencies) : BJP MP and newspaper editor Chandan Mitra has said that he "regretted" saying that economist Amartya Sen should be stripped of his Bharat Ratna for criticising Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
"I think I may have exaggerated. I do regret the part about taking away of Bharat Ratna from Dr Sen, I oversaid it," he told a news channel on Friday.
The Rajya Sabha member's statement comes after a day after Sen said he as ready to return the country's highest civilian award if former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee asked him to do so.
"Mr Chandan Mitra may not know that the Bharat Ratna was given to me by the BJP-led government and was handed to me by Atal Bihari Vajpayee. If Mr Vajpayee wants me to return it, I will certainly return it," Sen had told another news channel.
The BJP too had distanced itself away from Mitra's remarks.
Party spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman had tweeted: "Bharat Ratna debate - unfortunate. BJP is not a part of it. Views expressed by member/s can only be construed as their personal opinion".
After Sen told a channel that "as an Indian citizen I don't want Modi as my PM. He has not done enough to make minorities feel safe", Mitra tweeted: "Amartya Sen says he doesn't want Modi to be India's PM: Is Sen he even a voter in India? Next NDA Govt must strip him of Bharat Ratna."