Amidst the row over Republic Day advertisement of I&B Ministry, the Shiv Sena Wednesday demanded that the words “secular” and “socialist” be “permanently removed” from the Constitution’s Preamble. The party said that its demand is justified as India is a “Hindu nation”.
The I&B advertisement for the Republic Day had carried a picture of the Preamble of the Constitution as it appeared before the 42nd Amendment of 1976, without the words “secular” and “socialist” in it, leading to a major controversy with the Opposition demanding explanation from the government and terming it as an “unforgivable sacrilege” of the Constitution. On Wednesday, BJP’s ally Sena “welcomed” the exclusion of the words — secular and socialist. “It may have been done by mistake, but it has honoured the feelings of the residents of this country. These words needs to be deleted permanently,” Shiv Sena leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut said.
Raut said the word secular was not relevant for the country as India is a “Hindu Rashtra”. “From the beginning, people like (Shiv Sena founder) Balasaheb Thackeray and Veer Savarkar have been saying that this country cannot be called a secular nation. The partition of this country happened on the basis of religion. If Pakistan was formed for Muslims, than what remains is of the Hindus. How can we then be called secular. This country is a Hindu state,” Raut added.
“This mistake happened because destiny wished so. Now, Narendra Modi is the Prime Minister and his views of Hindutva are strong,” he further said.
The Sena’s demand was slammed by other parties. NCP said the entire exercise is being deliberately done to build a communal divide in the country. “They are speaking Narendra Modi’s language. This is being done deliberately. Modi’s childhood friend Barack said something just before leaving this country. It would do them good if they follow his advice,” NCP leader Jitendra Awhad said.
The Congress too voiced its protest. “I wonder if there is any relation between the Shiv Sena and the Constitution because most of its actions have been about violation of our founding principles. The Sena, which has been forced to play second fiddle to the BJP, is only touting the BJP’s words,” Congress leader Radha Krishna Vikhe Patil said.