Mallikarjun Kharge, Leader of the Congress party in Lok Sabha, drew strong criticism from the ruling BJP on Thursday, when he said “any attempt to review the Constitution could result in grave consequences.”
His exact words – a reference to violence in Hindi – were expunged by the Chair after Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu strongly objected and called it an attempt to “threaten” the government. Words expunged in Parliament can’t be reported.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was listening to the speeches through the day, was seen gently nudging Mr Naidu to respond to Mr Kharge’s remark. Mr Kharge took part in the debate – on Commitment to the Constitution — and tried to defend his party’s record in “protecting the spirit of the Constitution” by enacting laws like the Food Security Act and the Rural Employment Guarantee Act. But through his speech, he kept targeting the Prime Minister. “Today, it’s a record that the Prime Minister who came in the morning is still sitting here,” he said.
Mr Kharge said when people express their views on intolerance, the ruling party members tell them to go to Pakistan, “but the Prime Minister prefers to stay silent”. He also said it was not right on part of Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who initiated the debate, to object to the introduction of the words “secular” and “socialist” in the Preamble.