Bharatiya Janata Party MP Pragya Singh Thakur on Sunday told party workers in the city of Sehore in Madhya Pradesh that she was not elected to “clean drains and toilets”. Thakur, who represents Bhopal in Parliament, is an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case and is out on bail at present.

“I have not been made [elected as an MP] to clean your drains, or your toilets,” ANI quoted her as saying. “The work for which I have been made, I will do with all honesty. I have been saying this, I am saying it today, and will continue saying it.” One of the flagship programmes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is Swachh Bharat, which promotes cleanliness.

Former Bhopal MP Alok Sanjar denied any knowledge of Thakur’s remarks. “I am not aware of what Pragya ji has said,” The Times of India quoted him as saying. “I cannot comment on her statement.”

The state Congress criticised Thakur, calling her remarks a “mockery of democracy”. “The person who abuses Gandhi ji and glorified [Nathuram] Godse has no business in Parliament,” said Shobha Oza, who is in charge of the party’s media affairs in the state.

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi described Thakur’s statement as obnoxious, and said it had not surprised him. “The MP [Pragya Singh Thakur] believes in the caste and class discrimination happening in India,” ANI quoted him as saying. “She also clearly says that the kind of work the caste has defined, that should continue. It is very unfortunate. Also, she has openly opposed the Prime Minister’s programme.”

During the Lok Sabha elections, Thakur had triggered a controversy by calling Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin “a patriot”. The comments drew widespread criticism with Modi saying he will never be able to forgive Thakur. After that she apologised for the comment.