National

Former union minister Fernandes dies

Former union minister Fernandes dies
Late George Fernandes
NEW DELHI, JAN 29 | Publish Date: 1/29/2019 12:21:11 PM IST

George Fernandes, a lifelong socialist despite his political adventurism that included Cabinet posts in two ideological opposite governments where he ousted Coca-Cola in 1977 and oversaw the Kargil war in 1999, died Tuesday. He was 88. He is survived by his wife and one son.

Fernandes was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, which had forced him out of the public eye for several years, and had recently contracted swine flu, his long time associate, Jaya Jaitly, said, adding that he died at his residence here. 

Fernandes, who was born to a Christian family in Mangalore, Karnataka, burst into national limelight when as a firebrand trade unionist in Mumbai he organised a Railways strike in 1974 that brought the country to a standstill. Ironically, he became the Railways minister in 1989 under V.P. Singh’s National Front coalition government, comprising mostly Left leaning parties.

Despite being a staunch critic of the RSS, Fernandes joined the BJP-led NDA government under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1998 and 1999, in which he was appointed the defence minister. 

Nagaland CM and Dy CM condole
DIMAPUR, JAN 29 (NPN): Nagaland chief minister, Neiphiu Rio, and deputy chief minister, Y Patton, have expressed grief over the demise of former union defence minister and veteran parliamentarian, George Fernandes.
In a condolence message, Rio said late Fernandes, a dynamic trade union Leader, always stood for the rights of the poor. “He was also an able administrator and excelled in the Ministries he handled,” Rio said, adding that his contribution as in ministries of railways, defence, communications and industry would be remembered for a long time to come. 
In his demise, Rio said the nation has lost an able leader who was such an asset to the government and the society.  Rio conveyed deepest condolences to the family members of late Fernandes and prayed to God to grant them the strength to bear this loss. 
Dy CM: Deputy chief minister, Y Patton, who is also BJP Nagaland Legislature Party Leader, said late Fernandes would be always remembered for being among the tallest leaders in Indian political affairs. 
In a condolence message, Patton said that late Fernandes represented the finest of India’s political leadership who was frank and fearless. “He was among the most effective voices for the rights of the poor and downtrodden people in our country,” Patton said, adding that his contribution in shaping “our great nation” was immense. The deputy chief minister said that the whole nation felt the void left by his demise.
Patton also mourned the demise of Fernandes and prayed for the departed soul to rest in eternal peace.

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