Former Defence Minister George Fernandes Passes Away At The Age Of 88

Former Defence Minister George Fernandes Passes Away At The Age Of 88

 Former Defence Minister George Fernandes Passes Away At The Age Of 88 

New Delhi: A former Defence Minister of India, George Fernandes has passed away at the age of 88. Over the past few years, he had been unwell and bedridden. Mr Fernandes has served as Defence Minister between 1998 and 2004.

The former Defence Minister, is one of the most prominent leaders of the socialist movement in the 1970s. He was a senior Janata Dal leader before he founded the Samata Party.

Mr Fernandes, apart from holding the the defence ministry during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government also held several ministerial portfolios including communications, industry and railways. Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to twitter to condole his death.

Born in Mangaluru in 1930, Mr Fernandes was training to be a Roman Catholic priest when he was drawn to trade union politics.

After his surprise victory in the 1967 parliamentary elections, over a Congress veteran in, he rose to prominence. In 1974, he organised a nationwide railway strike.

At the time of the  1975 Emergency which was imposed by Indira Gandhi-led government, Mr Fernandes was arrested for what was dubbed the "Baroda Dynamite Conspiracy" to blow up government establishments and railway tracks. George Fernandes contested the 1977 election from jail and won the Muzaffarpur constituency in Bihar by a landslide.

Former Defence Minister George Fernandes Passes Away At The Age Of 88

George Fernandes became a hero of the Emergency. He was made minister when the Janata Party came to power in 1977 with Morarji Desai as Prime Minister.

Mr Fernandes, as Atal Bihari Vajpayee's Defence Minister oversaw the Pokhran nuclear tests of 1998 and the Kargil war.

In 2004, he had stepped down from the post of Defence Minister, after the "Coffingate" scandal erupted. He was later absolved by two commissions of inquiry. The Tehelka expose also cast a shadow on his final years in office.

George Fernandes was a parliamentarian last as a Rajya Sabha member in 2009-2010.