BJP party chief Nitin Gadkari landed in a soup by taking the names of Swami Vivekananda and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim in the same sentence.
He was trying to prove the point that "intelligence or education alone cannot make good human beings".
Speaking at a function organised by the NGO Ojaswini Foundation in Bhopal on Sunday evening, Gadkari said that if one considered scientifically then Swami Vivekananda and Dawood Ibrahim might have the same intelligence quotient, but the difference lay in how they used it.
"Swami Vivekananda used his intelligence for the welfare of the society and the country as a whole, whereas we all know how Dawood is using his," Gadkari said.
"One used his intelligence for destructive purposes, to damage society and humanity with the spread of crime and terror, while the other used his intelligence for the benefit of society and remains an inspiration for the nation."
The mention of Swami Vivekananda and Dawood in the same breath caused an immediate ripple in political circles and was picked up by the electronic media.
In Bhopal, state BJP president Prabhat Jha slammed the media for distorting Gadkari's statement, saying: "Do you really think that the national president of a political party can make or even think of making such a comparison?"
Jha, who was also present at the Ojaswini function on Sunday night, said Gadkari wanted to drive home the point that a man's thinking led him to a specific direction.
"So even if scientifically Swami Vivekananda's and Dawood Ibrahim's IQ might have been similar, it was their thinking which took them to different and opposite directions," he said.
"It's unfortunate that media selected a certain and small part of his statement and sensationalised it," added Jha.
Former MP chief minister and Congress leader Digvijaya Singh took a dig at the BJP chief by tweeting: "At a function in Bhopal Gadkari said IQ of Swami Vivekanand and Dawood Ibrahim was same. Any comment from (Narender) Modi and his fans?"