JD (U) chief Sharad Yadav
JD (U) chief Sharad YadavREUTERS

After his derogatory "I know what you are" remark against Union HRD Minister Smriti Zubin Irani on Monday in Parliament, Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav regretted on Wednesday for making such a remark and was all praise for her.

"I regret that this happened. I respect Smritiji so much that when there was a controversy over her educational degree, I was the first to defend her. I did not mean to say to her what was printed in newspapers," he said in the Rajya Sabha.

He even praised her, saying: "I respect Ms Irani so much that I never miss any debate related to her ministry," reports NDTV

His comments came after Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley took it up in the Rajya Sabha, saying the issue "has created a very improper impression" and asked 67-year-old Yadav "to please clarify and put an end to this issue." 

His retort to Irani on Monday was in response to her request to him after he made some "sexist" remarks against South Indian women. Irani had then said, "I appeal to the gentleman (Yadav) not to make comments on colour of skin of women in this manner."

Earlier, Yadav's remarks on the skin colour of South Indian women during a debate on FDI in insurance had created a furore both inside and outside the Parliament, prompting people to demand action against him.