Veteran Congress leader Oscar Fernandes passed away on Monday at the age of 80 in Karnataka’s Mangaluru. Fernandes breathed his last at Yenepoya Hospital in Mangaluru where he was admitted after suffering an accidental fall while exercising. In July, he underwent a surgery to remove a clot in his brain and was also put on dialysis.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the demise of veteran Congress leader. “”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,” the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted.
Expressing grief on Fernandes’ demise, the Congress tweeted: “We are deeply saddened by the demise of Shri Oscar Fernandes ji, our heartfelt condolences to his family. A Congress stalwart, his vision for an inclusive India had a huge influence on the politics of our times. The Congress family will deeply miss his mentorship & guidance.”
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.”
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.”
Fernandes served as the Union Minister for Transport, Road and Highways and Labour and Employment, in the first UPA government. He was previously the AICC General Secretary and later served as the Chairman of Central Election Authority of the All India Congress Committee.
Fernandes served as parliamentary secretary to prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1984-85 and was considered a trusted aide of Congress president Sonia Gandhi. After losing the 1999 Lok Sabha polls, Fernandes was nominated to the Rajya Sabha.
Fernandes, who began his political career as a municipal councillor in Udupi in 1975-76, was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 1980 from Udupi. He represented Udupi a total of five consecutive times, winning elections in 1980, 1984, 1989, 1991 and 1996.
Fernandes was also a trained performer of traditional dance forms Kuchipudi and Yakshagana.