Former Defence Minister in the Vajpayee government George Fernandes passed away today, at the age of 88.
Fernandes, who served as the Defence Minister in the NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpyee between 1998 and 2004, was crippled by Alzheimer’s disease, and his last stint as a Parliamentarian was as a Rajya Sabha MP between August 2009 to July 2010.
A native of Mangaluru, Fernandes is the founder of the Samata Party. He rose to fame as an anti-Emergency crusader and civil rights activists and served as a Union Minister in the Janata Party government headed by Morarji Desai that came to power in 1977 to 1980.
Fernandes stepped down as the Defence Minister in 2004 after the “coffingate” scandal broke out. He was later absolved by two commissions of inquiry.
RIP Fernandes Sahib. Tributes pour in for ‘tireless crusader’: Omar Abdullah: Rest in peace George Fernandes Sahib. You were a tireless crusader fighting for the voiceless, the marginalised & for those that needed someone in their corner. You called a spade a spade & did so unabashedly. You were always a friend & well wisher of the people of J&K. God speed
Frank and fearless: Modi on George Fernandes: Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the death of Former Defence Minister George Fernandes and paid tribute to the senior leader.
Taking to Twitter, PM wrote, “”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.”
Fernandes died on Tuesday morning in Delhi. He was 88 years old. One of the most prominent leaders of the socialist movement in the 1970s, George Fernandes was a senior Janata Dal leader before he founded the Samata Party.
Rahul Gandhi: I’m sorry to hear about the passing away of former Parliamentarian & Union Minister, George FernandesJi. My condolences to his family and friends in this time of grief.
Nitin Gadkari: 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.
Rajnath Singh: George Fernandesji served the nation in several capacities & held key portfolios like Defence and Railways at different times. He led many labour movements and fought against the injustice towards them. His tenure as Defence Minister was outstanding. May his soul rest in peace.
Smriti Z Irani: 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
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar: I offer my deepest condolences on passing away of former defence minister George Fernandes. He was a fiery trade union leader who fought for justice. May his soul rest in peace. My thoughts are with his family.