Preamble row: Govt not to remove words ‘secular’, ‘socialist’
NEW DELHI, February 24
The Opposition on Tuesday raised a hue and cry in the Lok Sabha over a Union Minister’s call for a debate on the words ’secular and socialist’ in the preamble to the Constitution but the Government ruled out any proposal to remove these words.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Jyotiraditya Scindia (Congress) also sought to raise the controversial remarks about Mother Teresa by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, but was dissallowed by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan. Scindia was supported by several Opposition members.
“Ravi Shankar Prasad (Minister) recently sought a debate on the preamble. Shiv Sena also supported him. Supreme Court had said several times that these (words) are an inviolable part of the Constitution,” he said, adding that this coupled with events like ‘ghar wapsi’ shows the true face of the Modi Government.Scindia noted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had recently said the only scripture for the government is the Constitution and US President Barrack Obama had also spoken about the need for religious tolerance.
“We condemn what the minister has said and we seek clarification from the government,” he said.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, however, said the government has nothing to do with these statements concerning the preamble of the Constitution. “There is no proposal from the government. There is no question of any change to what has been brought about in 1976.” Referring to Republic Day advertisements which carried the original preamble that did not have these two words, the Minister said one should not come to any conclusion from them.
When Opposition members insisted on raising the matter concerning Mother Teresa, the Speaker firmly dissallowed it. “There is no one from the institution to respond… I also have some authority.
I am not allowing it,” she observed, apparently not happy with the attempt of Mallikarjun Kharge of Congress to raise the issue again.