New Delhi, Jan 28: Hitting back at the Congress over the Republic Day advertisement row, a senior Union minister said on Wednesday that leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru and B R Ambedkar were "more intelligent" than the present day Congress leaders and did not include 'secular' and 'socialist' words in the original preamble of the Constitution.
Talking to reporters after the Cabinet press briefing, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said he found nothing wrong in Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut's reported remarks that these two words can be permanently dropped from the preamble.
"What is the objection in placing some views in a historical perspective. The preamble, which was used in the advertisement was the original preamble and the Constituent Assembly which had prepared it had leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, B R Ambedkar and others. These two words were not there then.
"Did Nehru have no understanding of secularism. These words were added during the Emergency. Now what is the harm if there is a debate on it. We have put before the nation the original preamble," Prasad said.
Congress leader and former Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari had on Tuesday attacked the Centre on the issue, claiming the government advertisement "deleted" the two words, which was only a prelude to their "substitution" with "communal" and "corporate".
The advertisement had carried a picture of the Preamble to the Constitution as it appeared before the 42nd Amendment, without the words 'secular' and 'socialist'. The advertisement showed a picture of the Preamble in the background with a quote from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and pictures of some citizens in the foreground.
Minister of State for I&B Rajyavardhan Rathore on Tuesday said that while some people were trying to rake up a controversy, the ministry had only used a picture of the Preamble when the Constitution was first adopted.
Noting that the advertisement issued by the I&B ministry on April 14 last year during the UPA's tenure had the same picture of the Preamble, Rathore had said if "there was nothing wrong with that picture then, there is nothing wrong with the picture now".