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Tuesday, November 18 1997

Kanshi trying to take Ambedkar's place, says widow

Satinder Bains

AMRITSAR, Nov 17: The widow of B R Ambedkar, Savita Ambedkar, has hit out at the BSP saying it is not the true representative of the Dalit Samaj. In an interview to The Indian Express here on Saturday, she said the BSP was not following the concept of social justice as defined by Ambedkar and that the true followers of the leader were not affiliated with the party.

Savita Ambedkar also accused BSP supremo Kanshi Ram of trying to overshadow Ambedkar by projecting himself as the champion of the Dalit cause. He will never succeed, she declared.

Savita Ambedkar was in the city to attend a public function, which was held at Goindwal Sahib in Amritsar district.

She was honoured at the function by the Baba Sahib Bhimrao Ambedkar Vichaar Manch and the State Government.

In a no-holds-barred attack on a party that proclaims to live by Ambedkar's name, Savita Ambedkar said Kanshi Ram was not even fit to utter the leader's name as he had ``no knowledge'' of his principles and ideology. She also attacked Mayawati's spree of Ambedkar projects and Ambedkar statues, wondering how the BSP hoped to get votes on this alone.

Savita Ambedkar did not spare other parties and even Prime Minister IK Gujral in her ire. The Congress, she said, had for decades exploited Ambedkar's name to get votes without doing anything for Dalits. The present Central Government, too, had no concrete policies for their welfare, she charged.

Though she supported the reservation policy for Scheduled Castes, Savita Ambedkar lamented that its rewards hadn't reached wider sections due to illiteracy.

As for herself, she clarified that she was not interested in joining any political party unless was sure that it was capable of fulfilling the dreams of her husband. Many parties had approached her, she claimed, but she had refused them all.

Speaking about the past, Savita Ambedkar charged that Jawaharlal Nehru was against inducting Ambedkar in his cabinet due to ``caste considerations'' but Valabhbhai Patel and Mahatma Gandhi had forced him to take the leader as the Law Minister.

Savita Ambedkar also talked about the recent Mumbai shootout following the damage to an Ambedkar statue, saying the act was meant to hurt Dalit sentiments. She advised the community to use restraint in the face of such provocations.

Copyright © 1997 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

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