Congress leader Oscar Fernandes passes away

Senior Congress leader Oscar Fernandes passed away at a private hospital in Mangaluru on Monday, the party informed on Twitter. Fernandes (80), a sitting member of the Rajya Sabha, was hospitalised in July after suffering a fall while doing yoga at his house.

Oscar Fernandes was hospitalized

Senior Congress leader Oscar Fernandes has passed away in Mangalore. He was hospitalised for a few weeks.

Mangalore police have confirmed the news of his death. The hospital, however, will issue a statement later.

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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 would represent Udupi a total of five consecutive times (winning elections in 1980, 1984, 1989, 1991, 1996).

Oscar Fernandes’s father Roque Fernandes was an academician who served as the first president of the Manipal Institute of Technology and his mother Leonissa Fernandes was the first woman magistrate in India.

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.

Oversaw number of portfolios

Oscar Fernandes served as minister of state overseeing a number of portfolios such as statistics and programme implementation, overseas Indian affairs, youth and sports affairs and labour and employment in the first Manmohan Singh government from 2004 and then as minister of road transport and highways from 2013.

Oscar Fernandes was hospitalised and operated on for a blood clot in the brain in late July and had been ailing since then. He suffered the clot after falling accidentally.

Condoling the former Union minister’s death, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “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.”

Expressing grief over the death of the veteran party leader, the Congress described Oscar Fernandes as a stalwart who worked for an ‘inclusive India’.

“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,” the Congress said in a tweet.

Oscar Fernandes was elected to the Lok Sabha from Karnataka’s Udupi constituency in 1980.

Since his early years, Oscar Fernandes was interested in politics as well as social work. First elected in 1980 to the Lok Sabha from Udupi, he was again re-elected to the lower house of Parliament in 1984, 89, 91 and again in 96 from Udupi. He worked as the party’s General Secretary in 1996 and served in the office of the Central Election Committee of Congress. It was, however, later given to Madhusudan Mistry.

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Oscar Fernandes has taken up many schemes and projects in the state. He has worked hard to improve the life of small businessmen, farmers, and even large businesses. It is also known that he has approached various regional banks as well as national banks for loans for various projects. Tremendous work has been done by him towards building a number of projects and construction of various structures like schools, colleges, civic buildings, bridges, roads, etc. It was due to his preparedness and willingness to serve the society that kept the crime rate in check. Knowing the lack of availability of medical facilities in various health centers, Fernandes had seen to it that there were well-qualified doctors in primary health centers.

In 1998, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha and again in 2004. He worked on portfolios like NRI Affairs, Statistics and Programme Implementation and Youth and Sports. He became a junior minister for Labour and Employment from 2006 to 2008.


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