Union minister Hegde hints at amending Constitution to remove 'secular'

Union Minister of State for Skill Development Anantkumar Hegde. DH

"I feel happy because he (the person) knows about his blood, but I dont know what to call those who call themselves secular", the minister had said. "We are here for that and that is why we have come", Hegde had said.

"If you say you are a Muslim, Christian etc., I feel proud that you have connection with your religion and caste, but who are these so called seculars?" We are here and have come to change the Constitution.

Hegde's comments, seen as his bid to communalise and polarise the electorate of Karanataka which goes to polls early next year, were immediately condemned by chief minister Siddaramaiah who said Hegde has "clearly not studied the Constitution, does not know parliamentary or political language", and must know that "each and every individual in this country is an Indian, and every religion has equal right and opportunity".

Well, Hegde who has been a five time member of the lower house in parliament, from north Karnataka, became a part of the saffron party's council of ministers during the August reshuffle. Because it's there in the Constitution, we will respect it, but this will change in the near future. The Constitution has changed many times before. "But trouble will arise if they say they are secular".

The minister said this while speaking at a function organised by the Brahmana Yuva Parishat and women's organisation at Kukkanur in Koppal district. Last month, Hegde had castigated the Karnataka government for celebrating Tipu Jayanti and said the state would soon start celebrating "Ajmal Kasab Jayanti".

"Opposing his (Hegdes) remarks Im announcing a bounty of Rs 1 crore for chopping his tongue and bringing it (over)", Pattedar, who identified himself as a senior Dalit leader, told reporters in Kalaburagi.

Hegde is no stranger to controversy. He has been slapped with cases for his "hate speeches", including one where he allegedly equated Islam with terrorism.

This is not the first time that Hegde has made a controversial remark.

Hegde was criticising Siddaramaiah for state-wide celebrations to mark Tipu Sultan's birth anniversary on 10 November. "He is a Union minister, but spits venom".



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