New Delhi: “Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was terrified of George Fernandes during the Emergency. When he was finally arrested she was greatly relieved. We were great friends. We both fought the Emergency together. I went underground. George led the movement over the ground. Sad that he is no more after a long illness” said BJP leader and MP, Dr. Subramanian Swamy.
According to Swamy, George Fernandes was a large-hearted man. He was a diehard socialist, a favourite of Ram Manohar Lohia and Swamy was opposed to it. But George himself convinced Swamy that they could work together to fight Indira Gandhi despite having ideological differences.
“He was a great friend, was dear to me. He always rose above petty politics. He used to consult me on various issues. George was brave. He believed in disruptions. He led massive strikes and rallies. Literally shook the government. My approach was different. But remained friends and shared a lot of good times” Swamy told News18.
The Senior BJP leader remembers George's anti-Congressism. "He always hated the Gandhi family. He believed that they are not good for India. He opposed them all his life without compromising even once," he said.
During Sonia Gandhi's controversial phase, in line to be the next Prime Minister, Swamy recollects that George wanted to stand along with him and protest the move on Citizenship Act grounds. "I think L K Advani stopped him," says Swamy.
"But he gave me full support. He even wanted to take Bofors to a logical end during NDA – 2. But the PM AB Vajpayee did not want trouble. He was worried about the stability of his government. His approach towards the Congress was more conciliatory” the senior BJP leader remembers.
Dr Swamy described George Fernandes as the best Defence minister till date. He said George made Siachen livable for the soldiers and used to visit them often. No other Defence minister had so much compassion for the soldiers he lauded.
“George was a towering personality in Indian politics. He was a born leader. He never minced words and always ready to take on the might of the government. We rarely see such people” Swamy said.
Since George was suffering from Alzheimer and Parkinson for the past 12 years, their meetings almost never ended, Swamy regretted.