The nation was taken by shock on Tuesday morning with the news of George Fernandes’ death. The former defence minister had been unwell and bedridden for the past couple of days. As per reports, Fernandes, who was already suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, contracted swine flu recently. He was reportedly taken to Max Hospital in Saket by his wife, Leila Fernandes, in the earlier hours of Tuesday, when the doctors declared that he was already dead. Several tributes from various politicians are currently being expressed for the veteran leader, including PM Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind, and President of the BJP - Amit Shah, among others.
PM Modi expressed his condolence through multiple tweets. He praised Fernandes as the ‘best of India’s political leadership and wrote that he was ‘deeply saddened by his passing away’. He also described the late politician as ‘frank, fearless, forthright and farsighted’.
President Kovind grieved by calling Fernades ‘a champion of democracy, during the Emergency and beyond’.
Rahul Gandhi put up a status on Facebook to express his grief.
Mamata Banerjee wrote that she had known Fernandes for decades and is extremely distressed by the news.
Amit Shah said that Fernandes’ death ‘marks an end of an era that cannot be filled soon’ and is anguished to learn about the same.
Omar Abdullah called him a ‘tireless crusader’ and a well-wisher of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Rajnath Singh extended his heartfelt condolences by saying that Fernandes devoted his entire life to the well-being of the poor.
“His contribution towards strengthening democracy will be etched in the hearts forever,” read a part of Smriti Irani’s tweet.
Reports add that Fernandes’ funeral will be held after the arrival of his son, who lives in New York.