Union minister Ananth Kumar Hegde, who kicked up a major controversy by claiming the BJP will change the Constitution and remove the word "secular" from it, has issued a clarification and said his comments were "twisted".
Hegde also apologised for his comments. "If anybody was hurt by my earlier statements, I tender an apology," he said on Thursday.
#ParlWinterSession -- My statement was twisted but if it has hurt the feeling of people, I apologise: Union Minister Ananth Kumar Hegde
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— News18 (@CNNnews18) December 28, 2017
I deeply respect the Constitution, the Parliament & Baba Saheb Ambedkar. The Constitution is supreme for me, there can be no question on it, as a citizen I can never go against it: Ananth Kumar Hegde in Lok Sabha — ANI (@ANI) December 28, 2017
The Opposition Congress, including party president Rahul Gandhi and senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, had protested in Parliament and demanded Hegde's resignation over the comments, forcing the Union minister to issue the statement.
Speaking at an event in Karnataka's Koppal district on Sunday, Hegde had said he respects the Constitution, but "it will be changed in days to come". "We are here for that and that is why we have come," he had said.
The five-time Lok Sabha MP had also said a new tradition was "in vogue", where people project themselves as secular. He said he would feel happy if someone "claims with pride" that he is a Muslim, or a Christian, or a Lingayat, or a Brahmin, or a Hindu. "I feel happy because he (the person) knows about his blood, but I don't know what to call those who claim themselves secular," Hegde, the minister for skill development and entrepreneurship, 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," he said.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Dec 28, 2017 11:33:37 IST