Anantkumar Hegde stirs another controversy by seeking two-third majority for BJP to amend Constitution

While the Congress criticised the MP’s statements, the BJP Karnataka unit took to social media platform X to distance itself from Mr. Hegde’s statement

Updated - March 11, 2024 01:43 am IST

Published - March 10, 2024 09:37 pm IST - Bengaluru/Belagavi

BJP leader Anantkumar Hegde. File

BJP leader Anantkumar Hegde. File | Photo Credit: K. Murali Kumar

 Courting another controversy and embarrassing the BJP weeks ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the saffron party’s Member of Parliament from Uttara Kannada Anantkumar Hegde has said that voters should give a two-third mandate in the Lok Sabha to the BJP to enable amendments to the Constitution. The BJP, however, distanced itself from his statement.

“The BJP needs a two-thirds majority in both the Houses of Parliament to amend the Constitution and set right distortions and unnecessary additions made to it by the Congress,” he said, addressing a gathering in Karwar on Saturday and explaining the numbers required to amend the preamble of the Constitution. The party would also need to come to power in more than 20 States for this, he said.

“If the Constitution has to be amended - the Congress fundamentally distorted the Constitution by forcefully filling unnecessary things in it, especially by bringing in laws that were aimed at suppressing the Hindu society - if all of this has to be changed it is not possible with this (current) majority,” he said.

This is the second instance that the former Union Minister has waded into a controversy over amending the Constitution. In 2017, he had spoken about amending the Constitution only to later apologise by stating that his comments had been distorted.

While the Congress criticised the MP’s statements, the BJP Karnataka unit took to social media platform X to distance itself from Mr. Hegde’s statement. “Mr. Hegde’s remarks on the Constitution are his personal views and do not reflect the party’s stance. The BJP reaffirms our unwavering commitment to uphold the nation’s constitution and will ask for an explanation from Mr. Hegde regarding his comments,” the party said.

“Mr. Modi said ‘Ab ki baar 400 paar’ (This time it will be above 400 seats). Why above 400? ... We have two-thirds majority in Lok Sabha, (but) in Rajya Sabha we don’t have two-thirds majority. We have a small majority. In States, we don’t have an adequate majority,” Mr. Hegde said. He said: “If we win more than 400 Lok Sabha seats, we can win the Assembly seats. Because of this more than 20 States will come to us, and we will have two-thirds majority among the State governments. With two-thirds majority in Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and among State governments -- once this happens -- then see how things will be,” he said.

Citing the example of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, he said that it was passed in the Lok Sabha and later in the Rajya Sabha “with effort”. But several State governments did not approve it, and hence it could not be implemented, he pointed out. “Now the government plans to implement it (CAA) through an amendment. If not, the law and order will go out of hands and anti-nationals will have a free run,” he said, without explaining who the “anti-nationals” are.

CM seeks disqualification of Hegde

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has said that Uttara Kannada MP Anantkumar Hegde should be disqualified from contesting in elections permanently. “If Prime Minister Narendra Modi does not approve of his statement, Mr. Hegde should be expelled from the party. The MP’s statement is not a personal statement but a hidden agenda of the BJP. Without the approval of the party seniors, he cannot make such statements.”

Deputy Chief Minister and KPCC president D.K Shivakumar said this showed that the BJP is anti-Constitution. “Let him do it, amend the Constitution...this shows that the BJP government (at the Centre) and the BJP MP are against the Constitution given by Dr. Ambedkar.”

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