Former Defence Minister George Fernandes breathed his last today at 7 am in his Delhi residence at the age of 88 years old. Fernandes was suffering from H1N1 swine flu over the last few days.
Former Defence Minister George Fernandes, who died today aged 88, was “frank and fearless”, “forthright and farsighted”, and “represented the best of India’s political leadership”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.
“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,” PM Modi said.
George Fernandes was a veteran parliamentarian who was elected to the Lok Sabha nine times between 1967 and 2004, and had several stints as a Union minister, holding diverse portfolios.
He was arrested during the Emergency, and was a minister in the first non-Congress government that came to power after the Janata Party defeated Indira Gandhi.
Fernandes was the defence minister in the NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
George Fernandes suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, and had swine flu for the last few days.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar broke down while speaking to the media about the untimely demise of former Union minister George Fernandes.
George Fernandes was a senior party colleague of Nitish Kumar. The nine-time Lok Sabha MP passed away on Tuesday morning at the age of 88 following a prolonged illness.
“His [George Fernandes’s] guidance has always taught us a lot. A new party was formed under his leadership and guidance,” Nitish Kumar said.
ANI (@ANI) January 29, 2019
He added, “We cannot forget his guidance and his fight for the rights of the people.”
George Fernandes and Nitish Kumar had founded the Samata Party in 1994 after parting ways with the Janata Dal.
Nitish Kumar later formed the Janata Dal (United) — JD(U).
George Fernandes merged his Samata Party with the JD(U) in October, 2003.