Amritsar, Jun 15: Veteran communist leader Satypal Dang, who was in the forefront of the battle against terrorism and secessionism in Punjab, died here today after prolonged illness. He was 93.
His wife Vimla Dang, also a CPI leader, died in May 2009.
The couple, who had waged a relentless fight for the downtrodden, opted not to have any child as "they did not want to divert their attention from the people's stuggles".
Dang would be cremated tomorrow afternoon.
Born in 1920 in Shekupra district of Lahore, Satypal Dang married Vimla, a Kashmiri Pandit who graudated from Kinnard College for Women in Lahore, in 1952 in Mumbai after she returned from Prague where she represented India in the International Union of Students.
After marriage, the couple shifted to Chheharta here. The communist couple had gone underground during the British rule.
Satypal Dang attracted national attention when he defeated Gurmukh Singh Musafir, Congress Chief Minister of the state, and won the assembly election with a convincing margin in 1967.
He retained the Amritsar West seat till 1980 and served as a minister in a non-Congress government.
Though he had lost the assembly seat to Sewa Ram Arora of Congress in 1980, Vimla Dang won back the seat for CPI in the 1992 elections.
The couple retired from the National Council of CPI and decided not to contest the assembly elections on the ground that there must be an age limit for holding political office.
Vimla and Satyapal Dang had set new standards of simple living and high probity in public life.
During his tenure as minister, Satypal Dang never opted for an official bungalow but preferred to live in MLAs' flat. Most of the time, Dang spent time in a one-room flat in Chheharta. As a minister, Dang loved to paddle thorough his constituency on a bicycle.
Though both Satypal Dang and Vimla were entitled to freedom fighters' pension, they never claimed it.
Satypal Dang was awarded Padma Shri in 1998 for his contribution to the social sphere, as he, along with Vimla, had fought many relentless battles for the cause of the downtrodden.
However, Satyapal Dang had returned the Padma Bhushan and demanded abolition of all such awards contending a person's contribution to society is judged by his deeds and not by honours. He was rankled by being clubbed with people who "publicly misuse" the government's titles.