In PICS: 10 facts about George Fernandes: Very few people know this about the veteran leader

With the death of former Defence Minister George Fernandes, an era in Indian politics comes to an end; here are the 10 facts about George Fernandes

In PICS: 10 facts about George Fernandes: Very few people know this about the veteran leader
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New Delhi, News24 Bureau, Jan 29: With the death of former Defence Minister George Fernandes, an era in Indian politics comes to an end.

Taking to Twitter, PM Narendra Modi wrote, "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." Here are the 10 important facts about the veteran leader:

1. A native of Mangaluru, Fernandes is the founder of the Samata Party. He rose to fame as an anti-Emergency crusader and civil rights activists and served as a Union Minister in the Janata Party government headed by Morarji Desai that came to power in 1977 to 1980.


2. Fernandes died on Tuesday morning in Delhi. He was 88 years old. One of the most prominent leaders of the socialist movement in the 1970s, George Fernandes was a senior Janata Dal leader before he founded the Samata Party.



3. Former Defence Minister George Fernandes, long-time socialist and a trade unionist, who fought the Congress all his life died on Tuesday after prolonged illness. He was 88.


4. Fernandes, who was suffering from Alzheimer's disease, has been out of the public eye and has been bed-ridden for more than eight years, family sources said.



5. He had a cold and cough and was taken to the Max Hospital in Saket by his wife, Liela Fernandes, earlier in the day, when doctors said that the veteran leader was already dead.

6. Fernandes, a long-time socialist, rose to political prominence when he led the Bombay Taxi Unions Association and defeated "uncrowned king of Bombay" S.K. Patil, a Congress heavy-weight in the 1967 general election.



7. A fire-brand and hardworking Fernandes, only 37 then, campaigned tirelessly, covering large swathes of the constituency with his workers. And when the results were declared, he unseated the 'king' with 48.5 per cent of the votes.



8. Fernandes later joined the Janata Dal. He served as Railways Minister in the V.P. Singh government from 1989 to 1990. He was instrumental in setting up the Konkan Railway project, connecting Mangalore and Bombay.



9. In 1994, Fernandes formed the Samata Party, which later allied with the Bharatiya Janata Party. He was appointed convenor of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and served as the Defence Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government for two terms, between 1998 and 2004.



10. His term was eventful as it witnessed the Kargil war and Pokhran test.

With Agency Inputs, Pics from Internet

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