West Bengal Minister Akhil Giri on Saturday drew widespread criticism for making controversial remarks on President Droupadi Murmu.

After the video clip of his comments went viral, Giri apologised for making such a remark.

In a 17-second video clip, the authenticity of which PTI could not verify independently, Giri was heard commenting on the “looks of the President”.

“They (BJP) said that I am not good-looking. We don’t judge anyone by their appearance. We respect the office of the President (of India). But how does our President look?” Giri, the minister of state for Correctional Homes, was heard saying at a rally in a village in Nandigram late on Friday evening.

Later while talking to reporters this morning, Giri apologised for making such a remark.

“I didn’t mean to disrespect the Honourable President. I was replying to what BJP leaders said while verbally attacking me. I apologise for making such a remark. I have immense respect for the President of our country,” he said.

However, the BJP lashed out at the Trinamool Congress and said Giri’s remark reflected the “anti-tribal” mindset of the TMC.

“President Droupadi Murmu hails from the tribal community. Akhil Giri made objectionable comments against the country’s President. These comments reflect the anti-tribal mindset of the TMC party,” BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar said.

Amit Malviya In-charge of BJP’s National Information & Technology Dept, Co-incharge West Bengal said in a tweet, “Akhil Giri, minister in Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet, insults the President, says, We don’t care about looks. But how does your President look? Mamata Banerjee has always been anti-Tribals, didn’t support President Murmu for the office and now this. Shameful level of discourse…” The TMC said it doesn’t support such a comment but won’t take responsibility for remarks made by leaders in an individual capacity.

“We don’t want to comment on stray remarks by individuals. The party neither supports such remarks nor takes responsibility for such comments. We have immense respect for the President of the country,” TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh told PTI.