MUMBAI: Following a quarrel over a Republic Day advertisement by Information and Broadcasting Ministry (I&B), the Shiv Sena on Wednesday demanded that the words ‘secular’ and ‘socialist’ must be permanently removed from the Constitution, said a report published on the Times of India.
The Republic Day advertisement carried a picture of the preamble to the Indian Constitution without the words ‘secular’ and socialist’, as it was before the controversial 42nd Amendment which changed the description of India from a “sovereign democratic republic” to a “sovereign, socialist secular democratic republic”.
Indian right-wing political party Shiv Sena’s minister of parliament (MP) Sanjay Raut expressed that the words should be removed permanently from the Constitution.
“We welcome the exclusion of the [secular and socialist]words from the Republic Day advertisement,” Raut said.
“Though it might have been done inadvertently, it is like honouring the feelings of the people of India. If these words were deleted by mistake this time, they should be deleted from the Constitution permanently,” the Sena MP further added.
Raut also said that ever since the words were added in the constitution, it was felt that India can never be secular.
“Balasaheb Thackeray and before him Veer Savarkar had been saying that India was divided on the lines of religion. Pakistan was created for Muslims, thus, what remains is a Hindu Rashtra,” Raut said.
He also alleged that the minority community in India is being used for political gains while “Hindus are being continuously disrespected”. He added that nowhere in the constitution it has been written that you apportion such treatment to Hindus, just to gain votes from the Muslim community.
“This mistake on the part of the government has happened only because destiny wants this to happen. Modi is the Prime Minister of India, and his thoughts on Hindutva are strong,” the Sena leader added.
Congress leader Manish Tewari on Tuesday claimed that the government advertisement “deleted” the two words, which was only a prelude to their “substitution” with “communal” and “corporate”.
On the other hand, Minister of State for I&B Rajyavardhan Rathore dismissed the claim, explaining that his ministry had only used an “original” picture of the Preamble as it appeared before the Amendment, to “honour” the first Preamble.
Rathore also argued that the picture was used previously in 2014 by the I&B Ministry, when Tewari himself was leading the ministry.