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Minister accuses opposition of twisting Hegde’s comment

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar on Wednesday accused the opposition Congress of twisting the statement of Minister of State Anant Kumar Hegde, who had said that the BJP government will “amend the Constitution”.

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge raised the issue in the Lok Sabha, and read out the comments made by the Union Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship at a function in Kukanur in Karnataka on Monday.

Hegde had urged people to “claim with pride that they are Muslim, Christian, Lingayat, Brahmin or a Hindu”, and 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,” Hegde had said.

Ananth Kumar however accused Kharge of twisting the Minister’s comments, and called the Congress “pseudo secular”. He also urged the Chair to expunge Kharge’s comments.

“What our Minister said is being twisted. Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi has said that Constitution is the holy book for the people of this country,” the Parliamentary Affairs Minister said.

“Congress should not try to teach us a lesson on secularism… They have only practiced pseudo secularism,” he said.

As the House took up The National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second (Amendment) Bill, 2017, to give extension to unauthorised colonies in Delhi till 2020, Congress members trooped near the Speaker’s podium raising slogans.

Members of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) stood near the Speaker’s podium displaying placards demanding a separate High Court for Telangana, with one of the members holding an electronic tablet that flashed a message raising their demand.

Amid sloganeering and ruckus, the House was adjourned till 2.45 p.m. by Deputy Speaker M. Thambidurai.

Earlier, the House witnessed protests and was adjourned twice during the pre-lunch sitting.