George Fernandes passes away at 88 after prolonged illness
Former defence minister and a veteran socialist, George Mathew Fernandes, who was a former Indian trade unionist, politician, journalist, agriculturist, and member of Rajya Sabha from Bihar passed away at the age of 88.
During his political life, he was also a key member of the Janata Dal and the founder of the Samata Party. He had held several ministerial portfolios including communications, industry, railways at the Centre in addition to being the defence minister in the NDA government under AB Vajpayee as prime minister. It was during his tenure as the defence minister in the NDA government that India conducted nuclear test at Pokhran in 1998 and fought the Kargil war in 1999.
Fernandes was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and had recently contracted swine flu, said Jaya Jaitley his long time associate.
Following his demise, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “A visionary railway minister and a great defence minister who made India safe and strong. During his long years in public life, George Sahab never deviated from his political ideology. He resisted the Emergency tooth and nail. His simplicity and humility were noteworthy.”
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi expressed his condolences to Fernandes’ family. “I’m sorry to hear about the passing away of former Parliamentarian & Union Minister, George Fernandes Ji,” he said in a Facebook post.
Tuesday, 29 January 2019 | PNS