Amid Protests, Union Minister Ananth Kumar Hegde Apologises For 'Constitution' Comment

| December 28 , 2017 , 15:28 IST

Union Minister Ananth Kumar Hedge tendered an apology on Thursday regarding his comments on 'changing' the Constitution that sparked controversy and protests demanding for his removal as a member of Parliament.

"Regarding the deadlock in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha due to my statement, I want to assure my friends that constitution is supreme to me, Parliament is supreme to me," Hegde said.

"I deeply respect the Constitution, the Parliament and 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," he said in the Lok Sabha.

"If anyone was hurt by my statements I tender an apology," Hegde said.

During an event on Sunday in Hegde's home state Karnataka, he said, "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."

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In the aftermath of Hegde's statement, Opposition members in the Rajya Sabha protested on Wednesday, saying that Hegde insulted Dr B R Ambedkar the chief architect of the constitution. In response, Union Minister Vijay Goel told Rajya Sabha, "the Government does not subscribe to views expressed by Hegde."

At the Congress Foundation Day event on Thursday, party president Rahul Gandhi slammed Hegde's statement as well.

"The Constitution, the foundation of our country is under threat, it is under attack directly, statements are being made by senior members of BJP & it is under attack surreptitiously from the back and it's our duty, duty of Congress party and every single Indian to defend it," said Rahul Gandhi.

The Congress President then led a protest calling for the removal of Ananth Kumar Hegde from the position of Union Minister.

The 49-year-old Ananth Kumar Hegde, a 5-term Lok Sabha lawmaker from Karnataka became the Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship in the cabinet reshuffle that took place in August.