Former defence minister George Fernandes passes away at 88

The socialist leader was India's defence minister in the NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee and he was the industry minister under the Jan Sangh government, which defeated Indira Gandhi in 1977

Former defence minister George Fernandes passed away at the age of 88 on Tuesday morning following a prolonged illness, his family sources said. Fernandes was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and recently, he contracted swine flu, they said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the demise of the socialist leader, saying he was frank and fearless, and never deviated from his ideology.

“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,” the PM said. 

The socialist leader was India’s defence minister in the NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee and he was the industry minister under the Jan Sangh government, which defeated Indira Gandhi in 1977. 

Congress President Rahul Gandhi also expressed his condolences to Fernandes’ family and friends. “I’m sorry to hear about the passing away of former Parliamentarian & Union Minister, George Fernandes Ji,” he said in his tweet.

Inputs: PTI