Ruckus in LS Over Hegde’s Controversial Comments on Secularism
The opposition cornered the BJP on Anantkumar Hegde’s remark on secularism.
The opposition cornered the BJP on Anantkumar Hegde’s remark on secularism.(Photo: RSTV Screengrab)
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Ruckus in LS Over Hegde’s Controversial Comments on Secularism

The Winter Session of the Parliament got off to a decidedly rocky start on 27 December, after lawmakers met after a four-day break for the Christmas weekend. Both Houses of Parliament saw uproar over Union Minister Anantkumar Hegde’s controversial statement on secularism.

Snapshotclose

  • Ruckus in Lok Sabha over Union Minister Anant Kumar Hegde’s controversial comments on secularism and the Constitution
  • Government and the Opposition reaches truce in the Rajya Sabha over Narendra Modi’s attack against Manmohan Singh
  • Lok Sabha passes The Goods & Services Tax (Compensation to States) Amendment Bill 2017
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Lok Sabha Paralysed by Hegde's Comment

The Opposition today virtually paralysed the Lok Sabha proceedings demanding dismissal of Union Minister Anant Kumar Hegde for his controversial comments on secularism and the Constitution while the government appeared to distance itself from his comments.

Raising the issue in the House which witnessed repeated adjournments, Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, quoting Hegde said the minister compared those supporting secularism to "children of unknown parentage", besides denigrating Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar, the architect of the Constitution.

Calling the remarks totally unacceptable, the Congress leader further said, "It means we all who support secular thoughts are not born to their parents."

The Congress members also displayed posters demanding immediate sacking of Hegde, who is the Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.

Kharge alleged that Hegde had also denigrated the architect of the Constitution, BR Ambedkar, by his remarks that the current dispensation came to power to "change" it.

The Opposition uproar led to several adjournments of the House.

Rejecting Kharge's comments, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar claimed the Congress leader was trying to distort what Hegde had said. He, however, did not comment on Hegde's remarks or try to defend him.

Truce in Rajya Sabha

The government and the Opposition reached a truce on Wednesday in the Rajya Sabha over Narendra Modi's attack against his predecessor Manmohan Singh during the Gujarat polls with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley saying the prime minister didn't question Singh's commitment to the nation.

Following Jaitley's statement, the Congress also reciprocated by disapproving of Mani Shankar Aiyar's criticism of the prime minister after which the House resumed normal business.

"The statement (by Modi) did not question nor did he mean to question the commitment of Manmohan Singh or Hamid Ansari, the former Vice President. Any such perception is completely erroneous. We hold these leaders in high esteem and their commitment to the nation," said Jaitley, who is Leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha that has been rocked over the Congress' demand for an apology from the Prime Minister.

Also Read: Jailtey Says Modi Did Not Question Manmohan’s Commitment to India

Following Jaitley's brief statement, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad also read out from a prepared statement in which he distanced the Congress from Aiyar's statement against Modi saying the Congress disapproves of any attempt to bring down the dignity of the Prime Minister's Office.

Aiyar had during the Gujarat polls described Modi as a "person of low level". The prime minister had said the Congress leader had called him a low caste personb=. The Congress subsequently suspended Aiyar and issued him a showcause notice and asked him to apologise.

Forest Bill (Amendment) Tabled in Rajya Sabha

The Forest (Amendment) Bill 2017 is tabled in the Rajya Sabha for discussion. Congress leader Jairam Ramesh argues against the bill. Meghraj Jain argues for the bill and states it will aid farmers.

KEY EVENT

Jaitley Denies That PM Modi Questioned Former PM Manmohan Singh

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley addresses the Congress’ criticism of PM Modi who had accused the Opposition party of colluding with Pakistan during the campaigning for Gujarat elections. Modi had questioned former PM Manmohan Singh, Hamid Ansari and Mani Shankar Aiyer for attending a private dinner with Pakistani officials.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley says,“The perception that the PM questioned these leaders is held erroneously” and adds that the BJP government holds the leaders in “high esteem.”

Leader of Oppostion Ghulam Nabi Azad thanked Jaitley for the clarification and disassociated his party from Mani Shankar Aiyar’s “neech” comment.

I thank the leader of the House for clarification on what has been an issue of contention. I, on behalf of my party, say that we disassociate from any comments made by any member during elections that may have hurt PM’s dignity, also we don’t want any such thing to be said in future.
KEY EVENT

Rajya Sabha & Lok Sabha Proceedings Resume

Speaker Venkaiah Naidu takes his seat, and resumes proceedings. Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge raises the issue of Union Minister for Skill Development Anantkumar Hegde’s remark about the Constitution in Lok Sabha with Speaker Thambidurai. Kharge quotes Hegde as stating “They are like people without parentage or don’t know their bloodline. They do not know themselves, they do not know their parents. If someone says, I’m secular, I get suspicious.”

A ruckus ensues in Lok Sabha after Kharge reads out Hegde’s statement. Lok Sabha adjourned shortly after, till 2.45 pm.

LS: Govt Will Make Statement on Jadhav on 28 December, Says Sushma

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said the government will make a statement in the Lok Sabha on 28 December on the treatment meted out by Pakistan to the family members of Kulbhushan Jadhav.

Lok Sabha Adjourned After Opposition Raises Hegde's 'Secular' Remark

Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the house till 2 pm after Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge raised the remark made by the Hegde, that the present government would remove the word ‘secular’ from the Constitution.

Lok Sabha: Opposition Raises Kulbhushan Jadhav

Members of various political parties, including the Congress, Shiv Sena, Trinamool Congress and AIADMK, strongly protests the way Jadhav's family members were treated by Pakistan authorities when they had gone there to meet Jadhav, who is languishing in a Pakistani prison.

While strongly criticising the happenings, Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge demands that Jadhav should be brought back.

Shiv Sena's Arvind Sawant also raises the issue and said India should not keep silent in the matter.

Describing Pakistan as "hypocritical", Trinamool Congress leader Saugata Roy demands that Swaraj should speak on the issue.

Condemning the incident, AIADMK leader M Thambidurai said asking a woman to remove her 'mangal sutra' is an insult to the country.

RS Adjourned Again

Speaker Venkaiah Naidu adjourned the upper house again, till 2 pm, after opposition leaders refuses to return to their seats and allow Finance Minister Arun Jaitley a chance to speak.

Govt Doesn't Agree With Hegde: Speaker Venkaiah Naidu

Vice President & Rajya Sabha Speaker Venkaiah Naidu says the Government has already issued a statement that it does not agree with Anantkumar Hegde’s views and statement on the matter.

Uproar Over Hegde

Opposition leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said Anantkumar Hegde shouldn’t be in Parliament if he can’t respect the Constitution. “I respect the constitution but the constitution has changed according to the times on many occasions in the past and it will change in the future. We are here to change the Constitution,” the BJP leader had earlier said.

KEY EVENT

Ruckus Over Hegde's 'Secular' Statement

Chaos broke out in the Rajya Sabha on 27 December, after the opposition raised the issue of Union Minister Ananthkumar Hegde’s statement that the present government may attempt to remove the word ‘secular’ from the preamble.

Hegde’s statement came at a speech in Karnataka’s Koppal on 24 December, where he said that people should identify themselves according to their caste and religion, and not call themselves secular.

Also Read: Secular People Don’t Know Their Parental Blood: Anantkumar Hegde

“Those claiming to be secular and progressive do not have an identity of their parents and their blood. One will get self-respect through such identity. I will be happy if someone identifies as Muslim, Christian, Brahmin, Lingayat, or Hindu. But trouble will arise if they say they are secular,” he said.

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