New Delhi | Jagran Politics Desk: Senior Congress leader and former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat, who courted controversy by referring to the party's Punjab leadership as 'Panj Pyare', on Wednesday apologised and take his statement back for hurting the sentiments of the people. 

Rawat, who had arrived in Chandigarh on Tuesday amid the ongoing rift in the party's state unit, had used the word 'Panj Pyare' for the Punjab Congress chief and four working presidents after a meeting at the Punjab Congress Bhawan.

On his Facebook page, Rawat acknowledged his “mistake” for his 'Panj Pyare' remark. “Sometimes by expressing respect, you use such words which are objectionable. I too have made a mistake of using the word 'Panj Pyare' for my honourable president and four working presidents,” wrote Rawat.

Rawat, who is the party's Punjab affairs in-charge, said he will clean a gurdwara in his state with a broom as atonement. He said that he always had a sense of dedication and respect for the Sikh religion and its great traditions.

"I used that word (Panj Pyare) as a reference for a respected person. Still, if my words hurt the feelings of any person, I apologize & take my words back. For atonement, I'll sweep the floors of a Gurudwara in my state (Uttarakhand)", Harish Rawat said as quoted by ANI. 

In Sikh tradition, 'Panj Pyare' is the term used for five beloveds of the Guru. In 1699, Guru Gobind Singh, the last of the ten Gurus, initiated five men into the order of 'Khalsa' (pure). Panj Pyare' is the name given to five baptised Sikhs who perform a baptism ceremony to initiate Sikhs into the order of the 'Khalsa'.

Meanwhile,  Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Daljeet Singh Cheema on Tuesday objected to the remark of Punjab Congress in-charge Harish Rawat comparing the PCC president and four working presidents with the Panj Pyaras of the Sikh community and sought an apology. 

Cheema shared a video lashing out at Rawat, saying that such remarks are not a joke and hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community. 

"It is very sad and disappointing that the Punjab Congress in-charge Harish Rawat has said that the meeting was chaired with 'Panj Pyare'. The 'Panj Pyaras' are respected and honoured in the Sikh Community. I would request Harish Rawat that is not at all a matter of joke, such remarks hurt the sentiments of the Sikh Community," Cheema said.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan