Following an uproar over his trip to Germany while people in his state were battling floods, Kerala Forest Minister K Raju finally issued an apology admitting that his decision to travel out of Kerala was a mistake.

Speaking to a television channel on Thursday, Raju, a member of the ruling Communist Party of India (CPI), said, “I left for Germany on 16 August to attend a programme of the World Malayalee Council near Bonn. I returned in four days but by that time, the flood situation in the state was already out of control…The timing of the trip was ill-timed and wrong.”

But according to reports, the minister had in his Independence Day speech in Kottayam spoken at length about the severity of the floods in his state. He had said that revival of flood-ravaged regions is the biggest challenge the government in Kerala faces, adding that the state had suffered damages running into crores.

Reports say that he had also urged everyone to contribute generously to flood relief and rehabilitation.

The Kerala unit of the Communist Party of India (CPI) had been severely criticised for the party lawmaker’s foreign tour in a time of an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in the state.

Raju was asked to return by the state government following which he landed in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday.

Opposition and a section from his party have demanded Raju’s sacking.