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.
When we think of Mr. George Fernandes, we remember most notably the fiery trade union leader who fought for justice, the leader who could humble the mightiest of politicians at the hustings, a visionary Railway Minister and a great Defence Minister who made India safe and strong.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 29, 2019
Distressed to learn of the passing of Shri George Fernandes, who served India in many capacities, including as Defence Minister. He epitomised simple living and high thinking. And was a champion of democracy, during the Emergency and beyond. We will all miss him #PresidentKovind
— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) January 29, 2019
Saddened by the demise of #GeorgeFernandes ji – a stalwart of Indian politics, an able administrator and above all, a people’s person.
— Suresh Prabhu (@sureshpprabhu) January 29, 2019
Deeply saddened by the passing away of India’s former Defence Minister George Fernandes ji. Today we have lost a stalwart of India’s socialist movement. He devoted his entire life for the welfare and uplift of the poor and marginalised. My heartfelt condolences to his family.
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) January 29, 2019
Saddened by the demise of former Defence Minister George Fernandes. An able administrator, a distinguished politician, his contribution towards strengthening democracy will be etched in the hearts & minds of Indians forever. My heartfelt condolences to his loved ones. Om Shanti🙏🏼
— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) January 29, 2019