Former Union Minister and AIRF President Com. George Fernandes passed away on Tuesday at the age of 88 following a prolonged illness. The former leader was bedridden for the past few years. As the news of Fernandes’ demise spread, tributes and condolences poured in from all quarters for the Ex- AIRF President.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi remembered Fernandes as “the best of India’s political leadership”. Taking to Twitter, he said, “George Sahab represented the best of India’s political leadership. Frank and fearless, forthright and farsighted, he made a valuable contribution to our country. He (George) was among the most effective voices for the rights of the poor and marginalised. Saddened by his passing away.” Congress chief Rahul Gandhi posted on Facebook, “I am sorry to hear about the passing away of former Parliamentarian and Union Minister, George Fernandes Ji. My condolences to his family and friends in this time of grief.”

Com. Shiva Gopal Mishra/GS/AIRF condoled the death of the former leader, recalling the departed leader’s contributions as a trade unionist. “He (Fernandes) led many trade union movements. He was instrumental for 1974 historical strike in Railways. He was arrested under MISA on 01.05.1974. He faced Baroda dynamic case. He played a vital role during emergency. He won the election as MP from jail. I got opportunity to work under his leadership. He was very ferocious speaker. It is very sad to here that he is no more. As a socialist leader, he contributed a lot towards the society as a whole. We in AIRF will always remember him as a true trade unionist and fierce leader who stood against the strong government led by Late Mrs. Indira Gandhi. His teachings will always be carried forward for young generations to follow.