Former Defence Minister George Fernandes dies at 88 : Ten News recalls his efforts leading ‘Better India’

Vishal Malhotra

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Ten News Team salutes former defence minister George Fernandes for his tremendous contribution in the growth and development story of India.

Former Union defence minister George Fernandes passed away at the age of 88 today morning following a prolonged illness.
Fernandes was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Recently he had contracted swine flu as well.

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.

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.

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

Following the news of his demise, in a series of tweets, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that Fernandes was the among the most effective voices for the rights of poor and marginalised.

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

The Prime Minister also recalled his pivotal role in fighting against the Emergency declared by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in the mid 1970s. During the Emergency, he was arrested and tried in the Baroda dynamite case.

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