Former Defence Minister George Fernandes passes away at 88; President, PM condole demise

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Former Union Defence Minister George Fernandes passed away at the age of 88 on Tuesday morning following a prolonged illness. Fernandes was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Those close to family claimed that he had recently contracted swine flu.

He was the Key leader of Janta Dal and founder of Samta Party which later merged with Janta Dal (United). He held Defence Portfolio under Atal Bihari Vajpayee led NDA government from 2001-2004. Apart from this, he also held portfolios of Communications, industry and railways under various governments. He held the portfolio of Union Minister of Railways from 1989 to 1990 under the then Prime Minister VP Singh.

Fernandes was among the key members in Moraji Desai’s Cabinet when Janta Party stormed to power in 1977.

Following her Demise, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter and said that Fernandes was the among the most effective voices for the rights of poor and marginalised.

‘George Sahab represented the best of India’s political leadership. Frank and fearless, forthright and farsighted, he made a valuable contribution to our country. He was among the most effective voices for the rights of the poor and marginalised. Saddened by his passing away’ PM said in a series of a tweet.

President Ram Nath Kovind also conveyed his condolences. President tweeted, ‘Remembering Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa on his birth anniversary. A great son of Kodagu (Coorg), Karnataka and above all India, he is cherished as one of our finest military commanders. And remains a much loved national hero #PresidentKovind’

Congress President Rahul Gandhi conveyed his condolences to the family and friends of Fernandes.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar also conveyed his condolences. He said, as quoted by ANI.

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said ‘I offer condolences at his passing away. He committed his life to the country. He fought for justice for trade unions. I considered him an icon’.

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