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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Former Union minister Oscar Fernandes passes away

Oscar Fernandes was undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Mangaluru after he suffered a fall while exercising.

By: Express Web Desk | Bengaluru |
Updated: September 13, 2021 7:24:38 pm
oscar fernandes dead, oscar fernandes dies, oscar fernandes death, oscar death mangalore, oscar fernandes death news, indian expressFormer Union minister Oscar Fernandes passed away Monday.

Oscar Fernandes, a former Union minister and a senior Congress leader, passed away at a private hospital in Mangaluru. He was 80.

Fernandes, a sitting Rajya Sabha MP, was undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Mangaluru after he suffered a fall while exercising. He is survived by his wife Blossom Fernandes and two children.

According to family members, the last rites of Fernandes are likely to take place in his home district of Udupi on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among those who expressed their condolences. “Saddened by the demise of Rajya Sabha MP Shri Oscar Fernandes Ji. In this sad hour, my thoughts and prayers are with his family and well-wishers. May his soul rest in peace,” PM Modi said.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wrote a letter to Blossom Fernandes expressing his condolences. “With his hard work, pleasant nature and popularity he became one of the tallest leaders of the Congress Party from Karnataka who helped the Congress Party in making many important decisions…My wife Gursharan Kaur joins me to convey our heartfelt condolences to you and other members of your family. May God give all of you the strength to bear this great loss with courage and fortitude,” he wrote in the letter.

In his condolence message, senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that Fernandes was his guide and mentor.  “My heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Shri Oscar Fernandes Ji. It is a personal loss for me. He was a guide and mentor to many of us in the Congress Party. He will be missed and fondly remembered for his contributions,” Gandhi tweeted.

Congress legislative party leader in Karnataka Assembly Siddaramaiah tweeted, “Shocked by the demise of senior @INCIndia leader & former minister #OscarFernandes. My condolences to his family members and may his soul rest in peace.”

Senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily extended his condolences to the family, stating that he had “lost a personal friend, the nation has lost a great leader and the party has lost a devoted leader.”

“For any party crisis, we always depended upon him and he was a crisis manager also,” he said. “We have lost today one of the prominent leaders of the Congress party who served the party continuously for over five decades. He was loyal to the party and totally devoted to it. He worked together in the party from the district, state and the national level with me,” Moily added.

K C Venugopal, Congress General Secretary (Organisation), tweeted: “Extremely saddened by the demise of @INCIndia stalwart Shri Oscar Fernandes. An irreplaceable mentor & hardworking organisational leader, Oscar ji contributed immensely towards the betterment of the nation & the party. Heartfelt condolences to his family, friends & followers.”

Former Congress General Secretary and Karnataka MLC B K Hariprasad tweeted: “It’s saddening to hear about demise of our senior leader Shri Oscar Fernandes. He combined tradition & modernity. In his 5 decade illustrious public life, He always remained rooted to ground irrespective of various positions he held. My heartfelt condolences to his family & friends.”

Fernandes was the Union Cabinet Minister for Transport, Road and Highways in the Manmohan Singh-led government. During the same tenure, he was also given the additional charge of the Ministry of Labour and Employment.

He was also the chairman of the Central Election Authority of the All India Congress Committee (AICC).

A former AICC general secretary, Fernandes was considered to be very close to Sonia Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

Hailing from the Udupi district in coastal Karnataka, he was also the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee during the late 1980s and the AICC joint secretary in 1983. A five-time Lok Sabha MP between 1983 and 1997, he was first picked to the Rajya Sabha in April, 1998.

Apart from political activities, he also founded the ‘Jolly Club’ NGO where he had arranged a library room facility for youths to cultivate their reading habits.

Fernandes was also a trained performer of Yakshagana, the traditional art form of coastal Karnataka.

His close aides say that Fernandes was a multi-talented personality. He had learnt the dance form ‘Kuchipudi’ in Delhi, apart from his having a penchant for playing the harmonium, keyboard and table.

Born in a coastal Karnataka Christian community, he used to sing in the church choir as well besides actively participating in various sports.

(With inputs fron Darshan Devaiah)

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