Bengaluru: Union Minister Ananth Kumar Hegde has kicked up yet another controversy by mocking "secularists" and saying the BJP would “change the Constitution in days to come.”
Hegde mocked secularists and said they are unaware of their parentage. Urging people to identify with their religion or caste, Hegde said, "I will bow to you, you are aware of your blood. But if you claim to be secular, there arises a doubt about who you are."
He said he respects the Constitution but "it will be changed in the days to come".
The remark by the five-time Lok Sabha MP from Karnataka comes months ahead of the Assembly elections in the state and led to condemnation from Chief Minister Siddaramaiah who said the BJP leader does not know parliamentary or political language.
Hegde, 49, said a new tradition was in vogue, where people project themselves as secular, but asserted he would feel "happy" if someone claims with pride that he is a Muslim, or a Christian, or a Lingayat, or a Brahmin, or a Hindu.
"I feel happy because he (the person) knows about his blood, but I don't know what to call those who claim themselves secular," said the minister for skill development and entrepreneurship.
"Those who, without knowing about their parental blood, call themselves secular, they don't have their own identity...They don't know about their parentage, but they are intellectuals," he said at an event organised by the Brahman Yuva Parishad in Kukanur town in Koppal district on Monday.
Siddaramaiah said Hedge has not studied the Constitution. “Each and every individual in this country is an Indian, and every religion has equal right and opportunity. He does not have this basic knowledge," Siddaramaiah said.
Hegde is no stranger to controversies. A case was recently registered against him for allegedly using derogatory language against Siddaramaiah at Kittur in Belagavi district. He had been slapped with cases for his "hate speeches", including one where he allegedly equated Islam with terrorism.
Commenting on the Tipu Sultan Jayanthi controversy in Karnataka, Hegde was also quoted as having said at a public meeting that it is a matter of time before Chief Minister Siddaramaiah starts making people celebrate "Kasab Jayanti."