The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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President cries off Ambedkar function

New Delhi, April 8:In a snub to Satyanarayan Jatiya, President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has refused to attend the April 14 function to mark the 112th birth anniversary of B.R. Ambedkar.

The social justice and empowerment minister had requested Kalam to pay floral tribute to Ambedkar’s statue on the Parliament House lawns.

Ministry sources said the President politely turned down the request, saying the “best tribute to them would be undertaking developmental works in their names like establishing hospitals, setting up educational institutions and building infrastructure facilities where they do not exist at present, particularly in the rural areas.”

“The President will participate wholeheartedly in such programmes whenever they are undertaken,” a letter from Kalam’s office to the minister said.

Sources said Jatiya, though embarrassed, has not given up yet and plans to personally visit the President to persuade him to attend the function. Kalam had last month attended the controversial unveiling of RSS leader Veer Savarkar’s portrait in Parliament, a function boycotted by several Opposition leaders.

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