Union minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday withdrew his remarks made in Parliament about Bihar after MPs from the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Janata Dal (United) held protests demanding an apology, NDTV reported.

On Tuesday, while Rashtriya Janata Dal MP Manoj Jha was speaking during a debate on the Appropriation Bill, Goyal had interrupted him to say: “Inka bas chale, toh desh ko Bihar hi bana de [If they have their way, they will turn the country into Bihar].”

Jha had immediately objected to the Bharatiya Janata Party leader’s remarks, saying that the Union minister could make comments about him but not his state.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal leader later wrote a letter to Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar, saying that Goyal’s comments are “representative of the contemptuous and condescending attitude of the government of India towards Bihar”.

Jha said Goyal’s remarks smacked of elitism and sought an apology from him. “Bihar has been long ignored by governments at the Centre and Biharis have always been treated as second class citizens,” the MP wrote. “To overcome the long-lived prejudices against our state, Bihar needs national concern and sympathy, and no sheer insensitivity towards our situation.”

Jha also urged Dhankhar to expunge Goyal’s remarks and take necessary steps to ensure no other state in the country is subjected to such treatment by the Centre.

After MPs of Bihar held protests on Thursday, Goyal said he absolutely had no intention of insulting Bihar or the residents of the state. “If it has hurt anyone’s sentiment, I immediately withdraw that statement,” he added.