Union Minister Hegde apologises for ‘constitution change’ comments

Union Minister Anant Kumar Hedge

New Delhi, Dec 28 (IANS) Union Minister Anant Kumar Hegde tendered an apology in the Lok Sabha on Thursday for his statement on changing the Constitution, even as he maintained that his comments were “put out of context”.

Soon after the House met, Hegde said: “I deeply respect the Constitution, Parliament and Babasaheb Ambedkar. The Constitution is supreme for me, there can be no question on it, as a citizen I can never go against it.”

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, however, said that Hegde had spoken against Ambedkar.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan then urged the member to apologise. “Sometimes in life we feel what we have said is right, but others may still get hurt,” she said.

Hegde then extended an apology and said: “My words have been twisted and presented, I never said all this… But if someone was hurt, I apologise to those members.”

The Union Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship at a function in Kukanur in Karnataka on Monday urged people to “claim with pride that they are Muslim, Christian, Lingayat, Brahmin, or a Hindu”.

He said: “Those who, without knowing about their parental blood, call themselves secular, they don’t have their own identity…They don’t know about their parentage, but they are intellectuals.

“Some people say the Constitution says secular and you must accept it. We will respect the Constitution, but the Constitution has changed several times and it will change in the future too. We are here to change the Constitution and we’ll change it soon.”

The comments led to disruptions in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on Wednesday when Parliament met after a four-day-long break.