(By Jagruti Katkar)
Reacting to recent controversial remarks by Anant Hegde, his colleague in the Union ministry, Minister of State for Social Justice Ramdas Athawale on Sunday said that changing the Constitution of India is not possible, and that he will not let any such thing happen.
Asked about Hegde’s comment, which led to a huge controversy, at a media conference in Pune on Sunday, Athawale said in a jovial way, “Samvidhan koni badlaycha prayatna kela ter, amhi tyalach badlu (if someone tries to change the Constitution, we will change him).”
Athawale said Prime Minister Narendra Modi considers the Constitution a holy book and appealed the BJP to take action against Hegde for his remarks. Addressing an event organised by a Brahman organisation last week in Koppal district of the election-bound Karnataka, Hegde, Union Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, had said, “A few people say the Constitution mentions the word secular, so you have to agree…. We will respect it, but this will change in the near future. The Constitution has changed many times before. We are here and have come to change the Constitution. We will change it.”
Hegde, who had also heaped scorn on “secularists” and called them “people without parentage”, apologised for his remarks in Parliament on Thursday. Athawale on Sunday rubbished “rumours” about the Centre’s alleged plan to scrap reservation for Schedule Castes. “I am in the Union Government to protect the rights of Dalits,” he said.
On the Gujarat elections results, Athawale said, “The RPI has supported the BJP in Gujarat, and it helped BJP secure a majority. Dalits were not in favour of the BJP but now support the party due to the all-inclusive leadership of Narendra Modi.”
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