Union minister Anant Kumar Hegde apologised in the Lok Sabha on Thursday morning over his comments on changing the constitution. But in the Rajya Sabha Opposition continued to protest stalling proceedings in the House in the Zero Hour and Question Hour.
As soon as the Lok Sabha assembled, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge sought to raise the issue of Hegde’s alleged remarks on secularism and changing the Constitution, but Speaker Sumitra Mahajan prevented him and said that Anant Kumar Hegde, the Minister of State for Skill Development would make a statement.
Hegde first said that he held the country, the Constitution and its architect BR Ambedkar in high esteem and there was no question of showing disrespect to them.
“As a citizen, I can’t think of violating the Constitution,” Hegde clarified.
After this, the Congress, led by Kharge, again protested demanding an apology from Hegde.
The Speaker then intervened and told Hegde that there was no question of anyone showing disrespect to Ambedkar but, at times, if someone says something, his or her statement sometimes hurt someone else and for that if the person tenders apology, his stature would not get lowered.
With Mahajan’s nudge, Hegde said his speech was presented in a distorted manner and then added, “”If someone is hurt, I have no hesitation to tender my apology.”
Meanwhile in Rajya Sabha, the House witnessed two adjournments in the pre-lunch session on the same issue.
During the Zero Hour, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad raised this issue and said the opposition members were not satisfied with the clarification tendered by the government on Wednesday.
Azad wanted to know from the government whether Hegde would continue to remain in the council of ministers.
To this, Goel said that Hegde has clarified about his statement in the Lok Sabha and expressed regret, so no issue remains and matter should be put to rest.
“Hegde has clarified in Lok Sabha that his remarks were twisted and he respects Baba Saheb Ambedkar. He has also expressed regret if his statement has hurt the sentiments of anyone,” said Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel.
He also added “after Hegde’s calrification, there is no issue left”.
As the protests continued Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said,”Hegde is a member of other House…We are sending wrong signals.”
Yesterday too, the proceedings of both the Houses of Parliament were disrupted over Hegde’s remarks.
(With inputs from agencies)