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President, PM condole Savita Ambedkar's death

NEW DELHI MAY 29. The President, the Prime Minister and leaders of various political parties today condoled the death of Savita Ambedkar, wife of B.R. Ambedkar, architect of the Indian Constitution.

In a message, the President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, said Ms. Ambedkar symbolised the virtues of dedication and sacrifice and was able to work for the uplift of the downtrodden while being at the side of the late Babasaheb Ambedkar.

The Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, said her death had created a void that would be difficult to fill. "Savitaji was the principal source of inspiration to a legendary personality like Babasaheb, who played a pivotal role in framing the Constitution of our country.

`` She was a great social worker in her own right and remained dedicated to the task of upliftment of the weaker sections of society," he said in a message from Berlin, Germany.

The Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, said she was saddened to learn about the passing away of Ms. Ambedkar. "The presence and guidance of Mai, as she was fondly called, will be dearly missed by all," she added. The Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Satyanarayan Jatiya, who represented the Centre at the funeral, said: "Dr. Savita Ambedkar has served Babasaheb with great dedication. Her sacrifice would be remembered for long and serve as an inspiration for future generations."

The Deputy Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha, Najma Heptullah, said that a significant chapter of contemporary Indian history had come to a close with the death of Ms. Ambedkar.

The Maharashtra Governor, Mohammed Fazal, said she had strengthened Dr. Ambedkar's hands in his life mission of emancipation of the depressed and the downtrodden.

The Chief Minister, Sushil Kumar Shinde, said she had accorded more importance to social movements than to wielding power.

The Deputy Chief Minister, Chhagan Bhujbal, said the Ambedkarite movement had been orphaned by her death.

The Republican Party of India leader and MP, Ramdas Athavale, said the coming together of all Dalit leaders under one banner would be a real tribute to Ms. Ambedkar.

The Nationalist Congress Party president, Sharad Pawar, said her contribution to Dr. Ambedkar's work was invaluable. "She provided him mental strength in trying times."

The BJP vice-president, Gopinath Munde, said she was an example of supreme sacrifice and continued the mission of her late husband till her death.

In Lucknow, the Samajwadi Party president, Mulayam Singh Yadav, said Ms. Ambedkar had always fought for the cause of the downtrodden and opposed caste-based discrimination.

The Punjab Governor, Justice O.P. Verma, said the nation had lost one the last and closest surviving links to Dr. Ambedkar.

The Haryana Governor, Babu Parmanand, and the Chief Minister, Om Prakash Chautala, conveyed their condolences to the members of the bereaved family. — UNI, PTI

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