New Delhi: Government on Friday dismissed Opposition charge of a threat to the Constitution and sought to turn tables on the Congress for imposing Emergency when fundamental rights were suspended. Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu also insisted that the term 'secular' will remain part of the Preamble of the Constitution.
"Today there is no threat to the Constitution, no Emergency, there are no arrests (of political rivals), no supercession of judges. We must work together to strengthen the Constitution," Naidu said in the Lok Sabha while participating in the discussion on commitment to India's Constitution.
Responding to the debate on the term secularism witnessed in the House yesterday, he said the word is part of the Preamble "and will remain so. But what I want to say is that it should be in our hearts and should remain."
At the same time, he hit out at 'pseudo secularists' saying those who followed politics on the basis of caste and communal lines "call others as anti secular."
"People get swayed and misled by caste and religion. Then for five years, they cannot do anything," he said.
Naidu's remarks came in the backdrop of Congress President Sonia Gandhi's targeting of the government yesterday on the issue of intolerance alleging that ideals and principles of the Constitution were under threat and being attacked deliberately.
Noting that there is a need ro reject pseudo-secularism, Naidu said the goal should be development of all and appeasement of none.
On the issue of intolerance, he sought to disapprove those leaders of the BJP and Sangh Parivar who have made controversial statements that have earned opposition ire. "The fringe elements should be secluded," he remarked.
Without naming any BJP or opposition leader, the Union minister was also critical of "making statements in the country and in neighbouring countries."
He utilised the occasion to target Congress over the controversial remarks made by former External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and another Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyer in Pakistan recently.
He said he had expected Congress President Sonia Gandhi to condemn the remarks which never happened. "I don't think she has approved of the remarks," he said.
Naidu claimed Aiyar had asked Pakistan to "overthrow" Modi for better Indo-Pak relations. He did not name Khurshid but said the former External Affairs Minister had also made controversial remarks abroad.
When Naidu questioned the silence of Congress on the remarks of the two leaders at a time when Pakistan was trying to create trouble in Jammu and Kashmir, Gandhi herself hit back wondering why the present government "did not stop" Islamabad from fomenting trouble.
Continuing her attack, she reminded the Treasury benches of the recent 'dog' remarks by Union Minister V K Singh. "What did your minister say," she asked while other Congress members named Singh who was not present.
Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said Aiyar is not a Congress Working Committee member and was a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha. He said since he is not a Lok Sabha member, Naidu should have refrained from taking his name.
As the war of words continued, Naidu recalled the statement of another Congress leader Shakeel Ahmed who had said that the government narrative would have been "different" had Chhota Rajan and ULFA leader Anup Chetia been Muslims.
But Naidu continued his tirade referring to the statement of Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi that Hindi-speaking people were trying to take control of the northeastern state.
Responding to Kharge's remarks yesterday that Aryans had invaded India, he said B R Ambedkar had dismissed the Aryan Vs Shudra theory in his book. "I will send a copy of the book to Khargeji as I know he does read", he said, taking a dig at the Congress leader....