New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday expressed grief over the death of former Defence Minister George Fernandes.
Fernandes passed away on Tuesday at the age of 88. He was the Defence Minister in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government when the Kargil War broke out between India and Pakistan, and India conducted its nuclear tests at Pokhran. Besides that, he also held several ministerial portfolios including communications, industry and railways.
“Distressed to learn of the passing of George Fernandes, who served India in many capacities, including as Defence Minister. He epitomised simple living and high thinking. And was a champion of democracy, during the Emergency and beyond. We will all miss him,” tweeted President Kovind.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Fernandes a “visionary Railway Minister and great Defence Minister who made India safe and strong”.
“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,” Prime Minister Modi tweeted.
“When we think of 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 added.
Prime Minister Modi shared that during his long years in public life, Fernandes “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,” the Prime Minister wrote.