NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the death of former union minister George Fernandes who breathed his last early on Tuesday morning. The 88-year-old veteran was bed-ridden due to Alzheimer's as well as other health-related issues for nearly a decade.
Paying last respects to the former defence minister, PM Modi remembered him as a frank, fearless, forthright and farsighted leader. "George Sahab represented the best of India’s political leadership. Frank and fearless, forthright and farsighted, he made a valuable contribution to our country. He was among the most effective voices for the rights of the poor and marginalised. Saddened by his passing away," he tweeted.
He added that Fernandes could humble the mightiest of politicians. "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," he tweeted.
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.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 29, 2019
"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. My thoughts are with his family, friends and lakhs of people grieving. May his soul rest in peace," he added.
Other BJP leaders also joined the PM in condoling the former union minister's death.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh also remembered him as a stalwart of India’s socialist movement. "Deeply saddened by the passing away of India’s former Defence Minister George Fernandes ji. Today we have lost a stalwart of India’s socialist movement. He devoted his entire life for the welfare and uplift of the poor and marginalised. My heartfelt condolences to his family," he tweeted.
George Fernandes ji served the nation in several capacities and held key portfolios like Defence and Railways at different times. He led many labour movements and fought against the injustice towards them. His tenure as Defence Minister was outstanding. May his soul rest in peace
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) January 29, 2019
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy recalled his relationship with Fernandes and said that he used to meet him every Sunday. "Very sad to hear about George Fernandes’ demise. He was a very good friend in his later years. Earlier we had ideological differences due to his being socialist and I for market based economy but we were united in opposing TDK and residual Nehru family," he tweeted.