George Mathew Fernandes, former union defence minister passed away at the age of 88. He was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and recently contracted Swine Flu.

A veteran parliamentarian died on Tuesday in New Delhi due to prolonged illness. George Fernandes was born in Mangaluru, on June 3, 193. Known as a civil right activist and an anti-emergency crusader was arrested during the emergency. George Fernandes was also a key member of the Janata Dal. In 1994, he merged Samata Party with Janata Dal. He served as the defence minister during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, between 1998 and 2004.

Apart from the defence minister, he held several ministerial portfolios such as minister of communications, industry, and railways. In 1967 parliamentary elections, his surprise victory over a Congress veteran in Mumbai led him to prominence. He had also been a member of the Morarji Desai’s cabinet, in 1997.

As a defence minister, he witnessed the two big events Pokhran nuclear tests and the Kargil war. Being famous for taking trips to the Siachen glacier, he went there to provide facilities for soldiers such as snow scooters etc.

After the reports of his demise, several people including Narendra Modi, Ramnath Kovind, Smriti Irani and many others gave their condolences on Twitter.

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