Oscar Fernandes
Oscar FernandesFile photo

Veteran Congress leader Oscar Fernandes passes away

Bengaluru, September 13, 2021

Veteran Congress leader and former Union Minister Oscar Fernandes passed away today at a hospital in Mangaluru where he was undergoing treatment for a head injury he had suffered during a yoga session at his residence in July.

He was 80. He is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.

Fernandes had served at various times as the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways and Labour and Employment in the Congress-led UPA Government.

Fernandes was elected to the Lok Sabha five times from Udupi constituency in Karnataka and was serving his fourth term as a member of the Rajya Sabha.

A five-time member of the Lok Sabha from Udupi constituency in Karnataka he was considered close to Congress President Sonia Gandhi and was part of several committees set up by the party on various issues.

He had earlier served as Parliamentary Secretary to then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, along with Ahmed Patel and Arun Singh.

"We are deeply saddened by the demise of Shri Oscar Fernandes ji. Our heartfelt condolences to his family," the Congress said on Twitter.

"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," it said.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi conveyed his heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Fernandes.

"It is a personal loss for me. He was a guide and mentor to many of us in the Congress Party. He will be missed and fondly remembered for his contributions," he said.

Born on March 27, 1941, Fernandes began his political career as a member of the Municipal Council in Udupi from 1972-76.

He was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time in 1980 and was re-elected in 1985, 1989, 1991 and 1996. Later, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1998 and re-elected in 2004, 2010 and 2016.

He served Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Statistics and Programme Implementation from May 2004-January 2006 and also looked after Overseas Indian Affairs as well as Youth Affairs and Sports from November 2005-January 2006. Later, he was given charge of the Ministry of Labour and Employment from October 2006-March 2009.

Fernandes served as Minister of Road Transport & Highways with additional charge of Labour and Employment from June 2013 to May 2014 during then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's second term in office.

Fernandes had also served as President of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) in 1986 and as General Secretary of the All India Congress Committee in 1985 and then from 1996 onwards.


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