Congress veteran Oscar Fernandes, who was hospitalised after he suffered a head injury in July this year, passed away at the age of 80 in Karnataka on Monday.
Known as a man for all seasons, the veteran Congress leader had handled tricky negotiations with north-east rebels, government and party matters, and fluid movements of Kuchipudi dance form with equal ease.
Considered a trusted aide of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, 80-year-old Fernandes was admitted at Yenepoya Hospital in Mangaluru.
Fernandes had served as the Union Minister for Transport, Road and Highways and Labour and Employment, in the first UPA government. He was also the Chairman of Central Election Authority of the All India Congress Committee. He was previously the AICC General Secretary.
Fernandes also served as Parliamentary Secretary to Rajiv Gandhi. He was elected to the 7th Lok Sabha in 1980 from Udupi constituency in Karnataka. A five-term Lok Sabha MP from Udupi in Karnatka, Fernandes was nominated to the Rajya Sabha by the Congress after he lost the 1999 Lok Sabha elections.
“Brother Oscar", as he is popularly known, had given his own touch to the talks with the NSCN leaders, beginning the meetings with prayers in which all present participate.
Son of a school teacher, Fernandes, who was the KPCC president for two terms, was well-liked among party men and known to burn the midnight oil in which ever job he was entrusted with.
Fernandes was also a trained performer of traditional dance forms Kuchipudi and Yakshagana.
Earlier in July, doctors in Mangaluru had successfully conducted an operation to remove a clot in his brain. Doctors were treating him in the intensive care unit of the hospital. At the same time, Fernandes was undergoing dialysis at regular intervals.
Neurosurgeons Divakar Rao and Sunil Shetty were part of the team of doctors who carried out the surgery.
He is survived by his wife, son and a daughter.
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