Govt unapologetic over Preamble advt goof-up

Govt unapologetic over Preamble advt goof-up

The Centre continues to remain unapologetic on the controversy over the publication of a government advertisement featuring the Preamble to the Constitution without the words “secular” and “socialist”.

While the government stood by its stand that “original” picture of the Preamble was used to “honour” the framers of the Constitution, former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sudeendra Kulkarni lashed out saying dropping of the words secular and socialist was tantamount to deviating from the beliefs of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

“BJP founder-president BharatRatna #Vajpayee wanted Secularism & Socialism to be in party's Constitution. Their removal means disowning ABV (Atal Bihari Vajpayee). Let's condemn this strongly: BJP Govt's Republic Day advertisements omit ‘secular’ and ‘socialist’ from the Preamble to the Constitution,” Kulkarni, once a close aide of Vajpayee, tweeted on Tuesday.

The Congress, too, attacked the government demanding an “immediate apology”.

The advertisement, issued by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (I&B) for publication on the occasion of Republic Day on January 26, used an image of the Preamble to the Constitution in the backdrop which stated, “We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a Sovereign Democratic Republic.”

However, the Preamble which was altered through the 42nd Amendment reads: “We the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic.”

“The incident raises doubts on the overt and covert agenda of the government on a day as pious as the Republic Day. These (secular and socialist) are the very two words on which right from the inception of the BJP till today, its integrity and intent has always been doubtful. It reflects an affront to the Constitution and a sacrilegious insult to its ethos,” said Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala.

This comes a day after Minister of State for I&B Rajyavardhan Rathore stated that the same image of the Preamble had been used in an advertisement by the ministry in April 2014 when Congress leader Manish Tewari was at the helm of affairs during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime.

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