‘I never called for a debate on secularism and socialism’

Ravi Shankar Prasad , Union Minister of Telecommunications and Information Technology, writes:

This refers to the editorial published in The Hindu on February 2 (“A needless controversy”) criticising me for “calling for a national debate on whether the words ‘socialist’ and ‘secular’ should continue to be part of the Preamble of the Constitution.”

I write this to put the record straight — I never made any such demand. In fact, after the last Cabinet meeting when I was conveying to the media the decision of the Cabinet, a journalist asked me about the controversy in relation to the advertisement of the original Preamble put up by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry; I only said that the Congress Party needs to debate whether Jawaharlal Nehru was a secular person or not because he, along with other leaders like Maulana Azad, Sardar Patel, Bhimrao Ambedkar and Dr. Rajendra Prasad, never chose to include these two words, even though they were eminent Indians and towering leaders of the freedom movement. Many other newspapers published this query of mine as it is but The Hindu carried a headline saying I have sought a debate on these two words. The next day I issued a clarification to The Hindu office in Delhi, which was published and also put on the web page. In this light, therefore, I am a little distressed that the main editorial of the newspaper should refer to me regarding something I never spoke about. Neither the government nor I has said that the words “secular” and “socialist” need to be removed from the Preamble or debated. Our commitment to secularism and social equity is complete and total. Respecting each other’s faith is a part of our civilisational heritage and ethos and rightly held by the Supreme Court of India as the basic structure of the Constitution.

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 4:26:49 PM |

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