Sonia's trusted aide Oscar makes comeback to govt



New Delhi: Known as a man for all seasons, veteran Congress leader Oscar Fernandes has handled tricky negotiations with north-east rebels, government and party matters, and fluid movements of Kuchipudi dance form with equal ease.

Considered a trusted aide of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, 72-year-old Fernandes makes a comeback to the government--this time as Cabinet Minister - after having handled key responsibilities, including the head of the party's central election committee.

A five-term Lok Sabha MP from Udupi in Karnatka, Fernandes was nominated to the Rajya Sabha by the Congress after he lost the 1999 Lok Sabha elections. He is now into his third term in the Upper House.

"Brother Oscar", as he is popularly known, had given his own touch to the talks with the NSCN leaders, beginning the meetings with prayers in which all present participate.

He was a Union Minister from 2004?2009, holding a number of portfolios like Statistics and Programme Implementation, Overseas Indian Affairs, Youth and Sports Affairs and Labour and Employment.

Fernandes was also a close confidant of former Prime Minister late Rajiv Gandhi.

Son of a school teacher, Fernandes, who was the KPCC president for two terms, is well-liked among party men and known to burn the midnight oil in which ever job he is entrusted with.

Fernandes is also a trained performer of traditional dance forms Kuchipudi and Yakshagana.

PTI