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Ambedkar issue: MP apologises

Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: Congress MP Vundavalli Arun Kumar tendered an unconditional apology in a bid to put at rest the raging controversy over his remarks in the Rajahmundry Municipal Corporation about the architect of the Constitution B. R. Ambedkar that rocked both Houses of the State Legislature.

Mr. Arun Kumar stated in New Delhi that his observations had hurt the sentiments of the Dalits leading to widespread protests. Seeking the pardon of Dalits, he said he held the Dalits in high esteem and it was due to their support that he was elected to Parliament from Rajahmundry.

Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy, in a suo motu statement in the Assembly, sought to defend Mr. Arun Kumar against the Opposition’s attack and offered to order an inquiry into the matter by a judge, Dalit leaders, the State Human Rights Commission or the Scheduled Castes Commission, depending upon the choice of the Opposition.

He offered to invite Dalit leaders like Jupudi Prabhakar Rao and Manda Krishna Madiga for the probe. Dr. Reddy alleged that two Telugu dailies, that were pro-Telugu Desam, and a private television channel had deliberately distorted the MP’s remarks on Saturday.

This was part of a conspiracy aimed at maligning Mr. Arun Kumar as he had exposed irregularities to the tune of nearly Rs. 3,000 crore committed by the company owned by media baron Ch. Ramoj Rao. He said the Telugu Desam was trying to politicise a non-issue with an ulterior motive.

Opposition parties, barring Telugu Desam whose members were suspended earlier, spurned the offer, saying that an apology from the MP would suffice and that the matter could be closed as he had already expressed regrets.

Dr. Reddy said Mr Arun Kumar was a politician of values and ethics and held Dr. Amebdkar in high esteem.

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