He was a crucial link with the high command for many
Congress leader Oscar Fernandes, who passed away on Monday, was one among the “Trimurthis” of coastal Karnataka Congress, two others being former Union Ministers B. Janardhana Poojary and M. Veerappa Moily, who began their political career in the 1970s. The three stalwarts, who developed close proximity with the Gandhi family, nurtured several young leaders while Mr. Fernandes was the link for local Congress leaders to the high command.
Moving close to the Congress first family, he was Parliamentary Secretary to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi for six months and became a Minister when he was RS member in 2004 and was the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways in 2013.
In between, he held portfolios of statistics and programme implementation, overseas affairs and labour. At the organisational front, Mr. Fernandes was the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president in 1986, joint general secretary and general secretary of the All India Congress Committee. He was among the six trustees of National Herald.
A practitioner of yoga, Mr. Fernandes had spoken in support of the Indian systems of medicine, including naturopathy, in Parliament. He was also a Yakshagana artist and practised Kuchipudi.
Former Minister B. Ramanath Rai said the mortal remains would be taken to Udupi on Tuesday morning to allow people to pay last respects and brought to Mangaluru by 3 p.m.
After the mass at Milagres Church in Mangaluru on Wednesday morning, the body would be taken to Bengaluru, and kept at the KPCC office.
The burial would be at St. Patrick’s Church, Brigade Road, Bengaluru, on Wednesday, Mr. Rai said quoting family members.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Legislative Assembly Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri, Cabinet Ministers, KPCC president D.K. Shivakumar, former Union Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge, Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah, KPCC working presidents Eshwar Khandre and Ramalinga Reddy, and several other Congress leaders mourned the death of Mr. Fernandes.
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