Rajya Sabha Chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu has expunged remarks made by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman about Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on July 28, PTI reported on Monday.

Sitharaman had on July 28 asked Gandhi to apologise after Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury referred to President Droupadi Murmu as “rashtrapatni”. The Bharatiya Janata Party accused him of insulting the president.

“As the members of the Press Gallery are aware, the Chair was pleased to direct expunction of a certain portion of the proceedings of Rajya Sabha dated 28-07-2022 at about 11:05 am,” an order from the Rajya Sabha secretariat stated.

The remarks were expunged after a meeting between Opposition leaders and Naidu in his chamber.

Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge contended that as Gandhi is a member of the Lok Sabha, no reference to her should have been made in the Upper House, The Hindu reported.

However, Leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha Piyush Goyal said that the Opposition takes Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s name on every subject, and asked how they could object to a reference to Gandhi, PTI quoted unidentified sources as saying.

To this, Kharge reportedly said that Modi’s name could be taken in either House of Parliament as he is the prime minister.

Naidu agreed with the Opposition’s demand and expunged remarks about the Congress chief.

On July 28, the BJP protested Chowdhury’s remarks in both Houses of Parliament. In the Lok Sabha, Union minister Smriti Irani led BJP MPs in seeking an apology from Gandhi.

On July 29, Chowdhury apologised to Murmu for calling her “rashtrapatni”.

“I am writing to express my regret for having mistakenly used an incorrect word to describe the position you hold,” the Congress leader said in a letter to Murmu. “I assure you that it was a slip of the tongue. I apologise and request you to accept the same.”