Anantkumar Hegde apologises for his remarks on Constitution

“As a citizen, I can’t think of violating the Constitution,” he says in Lok Sabha.

December 28, 2017 01:00 pm | Updated December 01, 2021 06:25 am IST - New Delhi

Anantkumar Hegde

Anantkumar Hegde

Minister of State for Skill Development Anant Kumar Hegde on Thursday said if someone was hurt by his remarks about changing the Constitution and about secularism, he had no hesitation in tendering his apology. He, however, said his statement had been presented in a distorted manner.

The Minister’s statement came as Soon after the Lok Sabha proceedings started, Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge raised the issue soon after proccedings began. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan then said the Minister would make a statement.

Stating that he held the country, the Constitution and its architect B.R. Ambedkar in high esteem, Mr. Hegde said there was no question of showing disrespect to them. “As a citizen, I cannot think of violating the Constitution,” he said.

Unconvinced the Congress members continued their protests and demanded an apology from the Minister.

The Speaker then intervened and told Mr. Hegde that there was no question of anyone showing disrespect to Dr. Ambedkar. She said the stature of a person would, however, not be lowered if he tendered an apology for a statement that hurt anyone.

Mr. Hegde then said if anyone was hurt by his remarks, he had no hesitation in tendering his apology. He said his speech was presented in a distorted manner, which was not correct.

Agitated over the controversial remarks of Mr. Hegde, the Opposition had forced repeated adjournments in both houses of Parliament on Wednesday.

At a public function in Karnataka on Sunday, Mr. Hegde had said: “The Constitution needs to be changed from time to time and we have come for that…those claiming to be secular and progressive do not have an identity of their parents and their blood. One will get self-respect through such identity.”

‘Defend the Statute’

Speaking at the 133rd foundation of the Congress, party president Rahul Gandhi said the Constitution was under attack, and that it was the duty of the Congress party and every single individual to defend the Statute.

“If you at look at India's modern history, one of the most important moments is the day we got our Constitution. The day we decided that every single Indian, irrespective of colour,caste or religion is going to get same importance, same rights. The same ability to build our future,” Mr Gandhi said.

He said it is distressing to note that the document is being attacked “either directly through statements made by senior BJP leaders or surreptitiously.” “The foundation of this country, given us by the Congress party, given to us Mr Ambedkar is under attack,” Mr Gandhi said. in the presence of senior party members including former prime minister Manmohan Singh.

Mr. Gandhi's reference was to comments made by Union Minister of State for Employment and Skill Development Ananth Kumar Hegde who, at a public function, had claimed that the Modi government would change the Constitution.

Mr Hegde, on Thursday, told the Lok Sabha that though his words were distorted, he apologises if his statement hurt anyone. Before the Minister's apology, Mr Gandhi had also led a demonstration at the Parliament complex.

At party headquarters, the Congress president repeated that the BJP resorts to lies if it suits it politically and in a significant admission of challenges, he said the party may setbacks but their fight will continue.

“The BJP operates on the basic idea that a lie can be used for political benefit and this is the difference between us and them. We might suffer, we might not do well, we might even lose but we will defend the truth and that is the difference between the Congress Party and them,” he said.

The former Congress President Sonia Gandhi was not present at the event and is believed to be on a vacation.



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