Hegde tenders apology in LS for 'Constitution change, secularism' remarks

Hegde tenders apology in LS for  'Constitution change, secularism' remarks

Union minister Anant Kumar Hegde on Thursday tendered an apology  in  the Lok Sabha over his remarks that the BJP will "soon change the Constitution" which mentions the word "secular."

He, however, insisted that his words were "twisted and distorted  to mislead" the people.

"My words have been twisted and distorted, presented to mislead. I never said all this. But if someone was hurt, I have no hesitation in tendering my apology before this House," he said in the Lok Sabha.

An apology from Hegde, a five-term  MP   from the Uttara Kannada constituency in Karnataka, came only after Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan intervened during his statement in the House and suggested him to do so.

"Sometimes we say something without any intention to hurt anybody. There is no harm in tendering apology before the House if someone is feeling hurt,"  Sumitra said.

The Speaker also tried to pacify the Opposition members. "I understand your agony," she said.

Meanwhile, the Rajya Sabha was adjourned twice on the issue before the lunch break at 2 pm, as the Opposition raised the issue, demanding an apology from the Union Minister in the Upper House, too.

Hegde, Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, extended an apology in the Lok Sabha, a day after the Centre distanced itself from his remarks.

The Opposition on Wednesday staged loud protests in Parliament and also disrupted proceedings  in both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, demanding Hegde's dismissal from the ministerial position at the Centre.

"I deeply respect the Constitution, Parliament and Baba Saheb Ambedkar. To me, the Constitution is supreme. There can be no question on it. As a citizen, I can never go against it. As a citizen, I can't think of violating the Constitution," Hegde clarified.  

Congress' leader in the  Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, however, refused to accept Hegde's clarification and demanded an apology from him, prompting the Lok Sabha Speaker to intervene and suggest the Union minister that there was no harm in apologising if someone was hurt by his remarks.

The Uttara Kannada MP drew Opposition's ire after he recently said at an event in Kukanur, "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 intellectual."

Going further, he said that the BJP will bring changes to the Constitution.



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