BJP stalwart LK Advani had said that he missed the speeches of former Union Minister and anti-Emergency crusader George Fernandes in Parliament.
Advani’s observation came as he, along with veteran socialist leader Sharad Yadav, launched a website publishing articles and write ups on George Fernandes by his close associates, on the occasion of the latter’s 88th birthday. The website has been designed by media personality VK Cherian.
Fernandes, who served as the Defence Minister in the NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpyee between 1998 and 2004, has been crippled by Alzheimer’s disease, and his last stint as a Parliamentarian was as a Rajya Sabha MP between August 2009 to July 2010.
“Geroge has done a great service to the nation. I always remember his speeches and miss them now,” Advani said, adding that he was surprised by the fact that Fernandes had command over 10 languages.
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.
Fernandes stepped down as the Defence Minister in 2004 after the “coffingate” scandal broke out. He was later absolved by two commissions of inquiry.
Fernandes’ wife Leila Kabir said that the disease had affected Fernandes’ sharp brain, that he could no longer tell his own story.
“George is very much alive, but not there to tell his story, since the disease has devoured his sharp brain,” Kabir said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee too took to Twitter to greet the socialist leader on his 88th birthday. Both leaders lauded Fernandes’ contribution in the public life.
Greetings to Mr. George Fernandes on his birthday. Generations of Indians will remain grateful to George Saheb for his historic role in preserving India’s democracy. A people’s person, he distinguished himself as a capable administrator. I pray for George Saheb’s good health. pic.twitter.com/35ADgNuKQS
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 3, 2018
Birthday greetings to George Fernandes Ji. Have many fond memories of him. I pray for his good health
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) June 3, 2018