Former defense minister George Fernandes passes away

Fernandes was suffering from Alzheimer's disease

Former Union defence minister George Fernandes passed away at the age of 88 on Tuesday morning following a prolonged illness, his family sources said.

Former defence minister George Fernandes passes away
Fernandes held the defence ministry portfolio from 2001 to 2004 under the government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government. he also held the portfolios of communications, industry and railways under various governments. He was a key member of the Janata Dal and later founded the Samata Party in 1994, which later merged with Janata Dal

Former Union defence minister George Fernandes passed away at the age of 88 on Tuesday morning following a prolonged illness, his family sources said.

Fernandes was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Recently, he contracted swine flu, they said.

Fernandes held the defence ministry portfolio from 2001 to 2004 under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government. Apart from defence, he also held the portfolios of communications, industry and railways under various governments.

As a defence minister, Fernandes oversaw the Pokhran nuclear tests of 1998 and the Kargil war in 1999. He was also famous for taking frequent trips to the Siachen glacier to look after the well being of the soldiers deployed there and providing facilities such as snow scooters to them cutting down the bureaucracy of his ministry.

He was a key member of the Janata Dal and later founded the Samata Party in 1994, which later merged with Janata Dal (United).

Fernandes was a senior member in Morarji Desai’s cabinet when the Janata Party took office in 1977. He also held the portfolio of Union railways minister from 1989 to 1990 under the leadership of the then Prime Minister VP Singh.

His last stint as an MP was in the Rajya Sabha during 2009-2010.

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