George Fernandes, the former Union defense minister, passed away today morning at the age of 88. One of his family members said that had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Recently, he contracted swine flu.

George Fernandes was born in Mangaluru in British India, on June 3, 1930.

All the political leaders like, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and leaders across political parties showed their respect towards the great political leader. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the former minister has represented the best of India’s political leadership.

Under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government Mr. Fernandes was the defence minister from 2001 to 2004. He has been the main member of the Janata Dal and later originated the Samata Party in 1994 which later united with Janata Dal (United).

PM Modi showed his grief by tweeting, “George Sahab represented the best of India’s political leadership. Frank and fearless, forthright and farsighted, he made a valuable contribution to our country,”

Giving his to tribute to Mr. Fernandes, Congress President Rahul Gandhi wrote on Facebook that “ I’m sorry to hear about the passing away of former Parliamentarian & Union Minister, George Fernandes Ji. My condolences to his family and friends in this time of grief.”

Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal also expressed her sadness and tweeted,  “Very saddened at the passing away of former Defence Minister and much admired trade unionist, George Fernandes Ji. I have known him for decades. My condolences to his family and admirers.”

George Fernandes was “champion of democracy, during the Emergency and beyond,” President Ram Nath Kovind said.

Mr. Fernandes was arrested along with hundred of other political activist in 1975 Emergency in “Baroda Dynamite Conspiracy” by the  Indira Gandhi-led Congress government. He was still in the prison when he won the general election in Muzaffarpur in 1977.


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