Rahul Gandhi condoles Oscar Fernandes' death, terms it 'personal loss'

Veteran Congress leader, Rajya Sabha member and former Union Minister Oscar Fernandes (80) passed away at a private hospital in Mangaluru on Monday

Oscar Fernandes (File photo)
Oscar Fernandes (File photo)
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PTI

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi condoled the demise of senior party leader Oscar Fernandes on Monday, remembering him as a guide and mentor.

He described Fernandes' death as a "personal loss".

Fernandes (80), a former Union Minister and Rajya Sabha member, died at a private hospital in Mangaluru on Monday.

He was hospitalised in July after he suffered a head injury due to a fall while practising yoga at his home. He had also undergone a surgery to remove a clot in his brain.

"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," Rahul Gandhi said on Twitter.

"He will be missed and fondly remembered for his contributions," he added.

"Heartfelt condolences to Oscar ji’s family. You are in our hearts and prayers. He was one of the finest, most loyal soldiers of the Congress party, we will all miss him immensely," Priyanka Gandhi tweeted.

Congress Media Department head and General Secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala said that a banyan tree of theCongress party has fallen. "Oscar Fernandes ji was a guide, mentor, and organization builder, who connected to the Congress workers & they loved him in return. A "banyan tree" of the Congress Party has fallen. There will perhaps never be anyone like him. Our heartfelt homage to an eternal Congressman", Surjewala said.

Many prominent Congress leaders of Karnataka, former chief minister Siddaramaiah and State Congress chairman D.K. Shivakumar, as well as Lok Sabha opposition leader Mallikarjun Kharge had rushed to pay their respects to the Congress veteran, a local Congress office bearer said on Monday.

Fernandes was a sitting member of the Rajya Sabha from Karnataka. He had been a five-time Lok Sabha MP and a four-time Rajya Sabha member.

He had entered politics as a member of the Udupi Municipal Council and was elected to Lok Sabha for the first time in 1980, followed by wins from the same constituency in 1984, 1989, 1991 and 1996. He had been a Rajya Sabha member for four terms since 1998.

He had served as Union Minister for Labour and Employment from 2006 to 2009 and had held different portfolios, including NRI affairs, Statistics and Programme Implementation in the UPA-II government led by Manmohan Singh.

Fernandes was also the chairman of the central election authority of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) and AICC general secretary in 1996. He was president of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) in the late eighties. He also served as Parliament Secretary to Rajiv Gandhi.

He was born on March 27, 1941 to Roque Fernandes and Leonissa Fernandes. He had his education at St Cecily's convent school, Board high school and in MGM College, Udupi. Fernandes began his political career by getting elected to Udupi municipality in 1972.

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    Published: 13 Sep 2021, 5:15 PM