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Government distances itself from Hegde’s 'change Constitution' comment

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    The government has distanced itself from union minister Anantkumar Hegde, who triggered a massive controversy by saying his party will soon change India's Constitution.

    Anantkumar Hegde

    Hegde's "change India's constitution" remarks sparked a massive row and forced his government into damage control mode.

    Union minister Vijay Goel told Rajya Sabha that "the Government does not subscribe to views expressed by Hegde."

    Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaking outside the Parliament also disowned her fellow minister's remarks and said, "The government has already said it is not on the same page with Hedge. Only five days are left now in the session. I hope Opposition will come on board now."

    However, the issue was more than enough for Opposition parties to gherao Modi government inside the Parliament. Congress party said such a person should have no place in the council of ministers.

    The opposition is clear that it wants nothing short of Hegde's resignation. The leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad lashed out at the government and the Bharatiya Janata Party and said if any person lacked faith in the Indian Constitution, he did not deserve to be in the House or in the government.

    "The Minister has no trust in the Constitution and has no right to be the Minister. He has no right to be a Member of Parliament either," Azad said.

    "Hegde should either apologise or Prime Minister Narendra Modi should take a call on whether such a person should continue as minister," Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters outside Parliament.

    Protests forced the Lok Sabha to adjourn for nearly an hour. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, usually in the Lok Sabha on Wednesdays for questions related to the PM's office, was not present as he was attending new Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur's oath ceremony in Himachal Pradesh.

    Hegde had on Monday criticised the word "secular" and said the BJP government would "amend the Constitution" to remove the word from the Preamble.

    The Karnataka BJP too has distanced itself from Mr. Hegde's comments. "The party (BJP) doesn't want to get involved with what Hegde has said. What he spoke about is not an issue for us," BJP spokesperson for Karnataka, Vamanacharya, was quoted as telling news agency IANS.

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