Union Minister Ananth Kumar Hegde, who triggered a massive controversy by saying his party will soon change India's Constitution, has come out with a clarification and said the "Prime Minister Modi and his govt is committed to the Constitution of India."
“I just want to say that Modi ji and our Govt are committed to the constitution of India and ideals of Baba Saheb Ambedkar,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Hegde said in Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
Hegde changed his tune after the BJP government disowned his views and the Opposition parties in Parliament demanded the minister should apologise for his remarks or be sacked.
Speaking at a function in Karnataka, Hegde had said that “those who, without knowing about their parental blood, call themselves secular, they don’t have their own identity...They don’t know about their parentage, but they are intellectuals.”
“Some people say the Constitution says secular and you must accept it. We will respect the Constitution, but the Constitution has changed several times and it will change in the future too. We are here to change the Constitution and we’ll change it,” he added.
BJP government disowns Hegde
Hegde’s “change India’s constitution” remarks sparked a massive row and forced his govt into the damage control mode.
Union minister Vijay Goel told Rajya Sabha that “the Government does not subscribe to views expressed by Hegde.”
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaking outside the Parliament also disowned her fellow minister’s remarks and said, “The government has already said it is not on the same page with Hedge. Only five days are left now in the session. I hope Opposition will come on board now.”
Opposition demands PM Modi to sack Hegde
However, the issue was more than enough for Opposition parties to gherao Modi government inside the Parliament. Congress party said such a person should have no place in the council of ministers.
“Hegde should either apologise or Prime Minister Narendra Modi should take a call on whether such a person should continue as minister,” Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters outside Parliament.
He said opposition parties had raised the matter before Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu.
“Opposition parties are of the opinion that any minister who does not believe in the Constitution should have no place in the council of ministers. It is for the prime minister to take a call on him,” Azad said.
“Either Hegde should apologise in both Houses and to the nation or the prime minister should take a decision on whether such people should continue,” he added.
Both Houses were disrupted by opposition members over Hegde’s remarks.