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'Fortunate that men like him walked this earth during our time'

Last updated on: January 29, 2019 15:28 IST

Shortly after former Defence Minister George Fernandes died at the age of 88, leaders across the political spectrum paid tribute to the veteran leader.

Here is how our leaders reacted to the tragedy.

IMAGE: On his visit to Srinagar in August 2002, then Defence Minster George Fernandes ate lunch with the troops at a garrison at Shariefabad, on the outskirts of Srinagar. Photograph: Fayaz Kabli/Reuters

“George Sahab represented the best of India’s political leadership. Frank & fearless, forthright & farsighted, he made a valuable contribution to our country. He was among the most effective voices for the rights of the poor and marginalised. Saddened by his passing away.”
-- Prime Minister Narendra Modi

"Distressed to learn of the passing of George Fernandes, who served India in many capacities, including as defence minister. He epitomised simple living and high thinking. And was a champion of democracy, during the Emergency and beyond. We will all miss him."
-- President Ram Nath Kovind

"Fernandes was a fearless, forthright and a forceful leader, who started his career as a trade union activist. He always fought for justice, took up the cause for the poor and was a very effective parliamentarian. He was a man of principles, who believed in utmost simplicity. In his demise the country has not only lost a firebrand socialist but also a thorough gentleman."
-- Veteran BJP leader LK Advani

“Deeply saddened by the passing away of India’s former Defence Minister George Fernandes ji. Today we have lost a stalwart of India’s socialist movement. He devoted his entire life for the welfare and uplift of the poor and marginalised. My heartfelt condolences to his family.”
-- Home Minister Rajnath Singh

“I offer my deepest condolences on passing away of former defence minister George Fernandes. He was a fiery trade union leader who fought for justice. May his soul rest in peace. My thoughts are with his family.”
-- Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar

“It is very sad news. He was like an elder brother to me. Our association started when I joined Janata party. When I met him I felt I was meeting my hero. He was a simple man. He did a lot of work in the defence ministry.
-- Former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha

“#GeorgeFernandes that great warrior is no more! #RIP His courage and integrity was inspirational -- took on mighty and powerful - in politics and business. I’m honoured to have known him and worked with him and fortunate that men like him walked this earth during our time.”
-- BJP leader Rajeev Chandrasekhar

“I’m sorry to hear about the passing away of former Parliamentarian & Union Minister, George Fernandes Ji. My condolences to his family and friends in this time of grief.”
-- Congress president Rahul Gandhi

“I offer condolences at his passing away. He committed his life to the country. He fought for justice for trade unions. I considered him an icon.”
-- Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari

“Very saddened at the passing away of former Defence Minister and much admired trade unionist, George Fernandes Ji. I have known him for decades. My condolences to his family and admirers.”
-- West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee

“Rest in peace George Fernandes Sahib. You were a tireless crusader fighting for the voiceless, the marginalised & for those that needed someone in their corner. You called a spade a spade & did so unabashedly. You were always a friend & well wisher of the people of J&K. God speed.”
-- NC leader Omar Abdullah

"Fernandes was one of those who built the trade union movement in the country. He effectively echoed the working class' voice in Parliament. He also bravely fought the Emergency."
-- Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu

"His political persona left an indelible mark on several significant political events over decades. The most abiding memories of Fernandes ji are those of his fierce
opposition to the emergency in 1975. He stood steadfastly to protect India's democratic values."
-- BJP president Amit Shah

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