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Former defence minister George Fernandes passes away

Former defence minister George Fernandes died on Tuesday morning in Delhi. He was 88 years old.

One of the most prominent leaders of the socialist movement in the 1970s, George Fernandes was a senior Janata Dal leader before he founded the Samata Party.

Apart from the defence ministry during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government, Fernandes held several ministerial portfolios including communications, industry and railways.

Born on June 3 1930, George Fernandes was at the age of 16 sent to train as a priest but his calling was different. He moved to Bombay in 1949 and got involved in the socialist trade union movement. Known to be a firebrand unionist and a fiery orator, he organized many strikes and bandhs there.

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