Opposition party disrupts Lok Sabha proceedings over Anant Kumar Hegde's remarks

Modi’s ministers Hegde and Ahir kick up row over secularism Naxal terror

A day after Union Minister for Skill Development, Ananth Kumar Hegde, stoked controversy with his remarks on changing the constitution, strong reactions came from Congress, while BJP and ally Goa Forward preferred not to react.

"I want to assure my friends that Constitution is supreme to me, Parliament is supreme to me".

Putting to rest the controversy surrounding his remarks on the Constitution, Minister of State Anantkumar Hegde Thursday tendered an apology and claimed that his words were twisted.

"Seculars do not know what their blood is".

Moreover, Supreme Court's Keshavananda Bharati judgment of 1973 - which came at a time when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi also seemed hell-bent on transforming the Constitution - underlined that the amending power of Parliament did not extend to tampering with Constitution's "basic structure". "BR Ambedkar is the father of the Constitution and we respect him".

Earlier, the House was first adjourned till noon and then till 2pm due to unabated opposition protest over the same issue.

Despite repeated requests from Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, about 20 members continued to protest in the Well of the House. But a fresh row over Union minister Anant Kumar Hegde's controversial comments on secularism is likely to keep it astir. "We as Congress supporters strongly condemn such regressive remarks which are against the idea and ideals of India", party supporters said.

"A few people say the Constitution mentions the word secular, so you have to agree".

Several opposition leaders brought the ongoing winter session of the parliament to a stand-still in the wake of Hegde's comments. Congress party said such a person should have no place in the council of ministers. "One will get self-respect through such identity", he said.

Congress member B K Hariprasad responded that the members were only violating rules while a minister was violating the Constitution.

"Some people say the Constitution says secular and you must accept it. Instead of condemning his speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi should axe Hegde from the Cabinet", Stalin opined.

Hitting out at Hegde, Siddaramaiah said Hegde has not learnt the social system and added that people belonging to various religions live in India.

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