Hegde apologises in Lok Sabha

Hegde apologises in Lok Sabha

Minister of State for Skill Development Anant Kumar Hegde on Thursday tendered an apology in the Lok Sabha over his controversial statement that the BJP will "soon change the Constitution" which mentions the word "secular."

Hegde, however, insisted that his words were "twisted and distorted to mislead" 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-time MP from Uttara Kannada, came only after Speaker Sumitra Mahajan intervened while he was making a statement in the House.

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

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

The Rajya Sabha was adjourned twice before lunch break at 2 pm as the Opposition raised the issue, demanding an apology Hegde in the Upper House.

The Opposition staged loud protests in Parliament and also disrupted the proceedings in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, demanding Hegde's dismissal from the council of ministers.

"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 informed the Lok Sabha, in an attempt to give clarification over his controversial remarks.

But Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge refused to accept Hegde's clarification and demanded an apology from him, prompting the Speaker to intervene.

On Tuesday, the Centre had distanced itself from Hegde's remarks.

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