New Delhi: A row erupted on Tuesday over a Republic Day advertisement issued by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry which carried a picture of the Preamble to the Constitution as it appeared before the 42nd Amendment, without the words 'secular' and 'socialist'.
Congress leader and former Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari attacked the Centre on the issue, claiming the government advertisement "deleted" the two words, which was only a prelude to their "substitution" with "communal" and "corporate".
Minister of State for I&B Rajyavardhan Rathore, however, was quick to dismiss the charge, saying his ministry had only used an "original" picture of the Preamble as it appeared before the Amendment, to "honour" the first Preamble.
The Union Minister also claimed that the same picture had been used in an advertisement by the I&B Ministry in April 2014. Tewari had helmed the ministry at that time.
The advertisement showed a picture of the Preamble in the background with a quote from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and pictures of some citizens in the foreground.
"Constitution-India Sovereign Secular Socialist Democratic Republic. Government Ad deletes Secular and Socialist Prelude to substitution with Communal and Corporate," Tewari alleged in a post on Twitter.
Reacting to the charges, Rathore said that while some people were trying to rake a controversy but the ministry had only used a picture of the Preamble when the Constitution was first adopted.
"Let me assure you, we are celebrating the 66th Republic Day, that is, we are celebrating an anniversary of the Preamble that was made way back then. The photograph that we have put is of the first Preamble that our great leaders had made at that point of time," Rathore said.
He added that the two words - 'socialist' and 'secular' were included after the 42nd amendment in 1976.
"Are we to say that the governments before 1976 were not secular? That's not the point. We were secular we will always be secular. We are honouring the first Preamble, hence this picture for the advertisement," Rathore said.
The advertisement issued by the I&B Ministry on April 14 last year during the UPA's tenure had the same picture of the Preamble, "there was nothing wrong with that picture then, there is nothing wrong with the picture now," he added.