After strong protest against his remarks on Mullaiperiyar dam issue, home minister P Chidambaram on Sunday wrote to Kerala Congress chief Ramesh Chennithala saying he did not want to hurt anyone.
"I take back the remark (on the by-poll). Like some other speakers, I also made a passing remark on the by-election. That reference was not necessary and it was not my intention to hurt the feelings of anyone," he said in the letter.
"I also appeal to everyone to await the report of the three-judge panel and the decision of the Supreme Court," he said.
The people of both states should act with dignity, restraint and patience. The fears over the safety of the dam was the concern of not only Kerala but also Tamil Nadu, because the latter was dependent on water from the dam, the minister wrote.
At a function in Chennai on Saturday, Chidambaram had termed Kerala government's apprehension over safety of the Mullaperiyar dam as "unnecessary" and claimed it was borne out of "bypoll fear".
The minister on Sunday regretted the passing reference made in his speech about the forthcoming by-election to the Piravam Assembly constituency in context of the dam issue.
The election is expected to be held in February.
"I continue to believe that the (Mullaperiyar) issue must be resolved in a spirit of co-operation and brotherhood between the people of the two states," the letter said.
Ruling Congress-led UDF and the opposition parties in Kerala had on Saturday condemned Chidambaram's statement.
Chief minister Oommen Chandy had said he would complain to Congress high command about the statement while some leaders from both UDF and the opposition LDF demanded that Chidambaram be dropped from the Cabinet.