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Condolences pour in for George Fernandes

Condolences pour in for George Fernandes
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New Delhi: Describing socialist leader George Fernandes as a "fighter" for the working class, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu Tuesday condoled his death.

The veteran socialist passed away Tuesday morning following a prolonged illness.

Naidu's office said in a tweet, "Shri Fernandes was a fighter for working class, a trade unionist, an upright politician, an able administrator, a great parliamentarian and above all was a good human being".

Fernandes was a multi-faceted personality, Naidu said.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday expressed grief over the demise of his friend George Fernandes and paid rich tributes to him, lauding his fiery oratory and his contributions as Union minister and trade union leader.

In his message, Pawar hailed Fernandes for "strengthening and giving new direction" to the workers' (labour) movement.

Former defence minister Fernandes, 88, died in New Delhi on Tuesday following a prolonged illness.

Pawar recalled that Fernandes, who hailed from North Karnataka, came to Mumbai in 1949 and "became one of Mumbai's".

"He dedicated himself to voice concerns of workers and to ensure justice for them. He built a strong organisation of BMC (civic body) workers. He also ably led the union of railway workers," Pawar noted.

Describing Fernandes as a "good parliamentarian", Pawar praised him for leaving behind mark as an "effective administrator" while discharging duties as the country's defence and industries minister.

"George was an excellent orator. His command over several languages was praiseworthy. We have lost a leader who created an independent identity of himself and who consistently fought for the commoners and workers," he said.

"He was my personal friend. With his demise, I have lost a senior colleague," Pawar added.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday condoled the demise of former defence minister George Fernandes.

"I'm sorry to hear about the passing away of former Parliamentarian & Union Minister, George Fernandes Ji. My condolences to his family and friends in this time of grief," Gandhi said in a Facebook post.

Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also condoled the demise of the former minister

"My condolences on the passing away of former Union Minister, Sh George Fernandes. May his soul rest in peace," he tweeted.

Fernandes was the defence minister in the NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday condoled the demise of former union minister and socialist leader George Fernandes, saying he was frank and fearless and never deviated from his ideology.

In a series of tweets, he said, "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," he said.

Modi said, "When we think of 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. 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.


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