INDIA. Mumbai: Veteran Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Oscar Fernandes passed away at Yenepoya Hospital in Mangaluru in Karnataka on Monday. He was 80 and is survived by his wife and a son and a daughter.
Fernandes was hospitalized on July 19, after suffering a fall while doing Yoga at his home on the previous day. He underwent an operation for the removal of a clot in the brain on July 27 and was undergoing regular dialysis. He passed away at 2.15 pm on Monday.
He served as Union Road Transport Minister in the UPA government. Fernandes, who was considered close to both Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, also served as Parliamentary Secretary, to Rajiv Gandhi.
Expressing grief over the death of the veteran party leader, the Congress described 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. He was re-elected to the Lok Sabha in 1984, 1989, 1991, and 1996 from the same constituency. In 1998, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha and was re-elected to the Upper House in 2004.
Born on March 27, 1941, he had his early education in Udupi and had graduated from the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial College in Udupi. He entered politics through the Youth Congress and had been elected to the then Udupi civic body in 1972.
A practitioner of Yoga, Fernandes had spoken in support of Indian systems of medicine, including naturopathy in Parliament.