Oscar Fernandes: A 24×7 politician who was all the time approachable


The yr was 1983. After a tough days’ work, three younger common secretaries of the Congress’s college students wing NSU(I) took off to look at a late evening film in Delhi. However they had been in for a shock when midway by the film a slide with their names appeared on the display screen asking them to contact the theatre supervisor.

The shocked trio – Ganesh Shankar Pandey, Pradyut Guha and Subodh Kumar – reached the supervisor’s workplace. Awaiting them there was a message from Oscar Fernandes, who was then an AICC joint secretary connected to celebration common secretary Rajiv Gandhi, who was in control of the frontal organisations.

Oscar Fernandes, when he was a member of Rajya Sabha. (Specific Archive)

The three had been given some organisational duties and Fernandes was ready to listen to from them until late within the evening. When there was no phrase from them, Fernandes reached the NSU(I) workplace solely to listen to that the three had gone for a film. The folklore within the Congress circles was that Fernandes received a senior police official to direct a number of the film halls within the metropolis to insert the slide in between the film.

Pandey, or for that matter a number of senior leaders of the celebration, remembers Fernandes as a 24×7 politician in each sense of the phrase. It was a typical sight to see a lone queue of holiday makers at Fernandes’s residence even after midnight when he was the Labour Minister within the Manmohan Singh II authorities.

Celebration leaders keep in mind him as an affable, soft-spoken and humble persona who actually believed that politics was about working for the “have-nots”. And he was an out and out organisational man.

Oscar Fernandes (left) with then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi throughout a Nationwide Conference of Parliamentarians, Legislators, Zila Parishad Chairpersons & Mayors on HIV/AIDS in New Delhi in 2011. (Specific Archive)

Pandey fondly remembers that he had later complained to Gandhi that they need to be allowed some free time a minimum of at evening. “I feel it was Odeon cinema or Plaza. And the film, if I keep in mind accurately, was Prem Rog. Bajrang Lal was then the Police Commissioner. I feel Fernandesji urged the Commissioner to ask the theatre to run the slide. The following day once we met Rajivji…we instructed him…Rajivji we’re younger boys…a minimum of we must be allowed to benefit from the evening,” Pandey remembers.

“Fernandesji was so dedicated and so captivated with work,” he provides.

And it was Fernandes’s onerous work that prompted Gandhi to nominate him as a parliamentary secretary connected to him in December 1984 when he took over because the Prime Minister. The opposite two had been ­Arun Singh and Ahmed Patel.

Fernandes was then in his first time period as Lok Sabha MP from Udupi. He was elected to Lok Sabha 5 instances and elected to Rajya Sabha 4 instances. He’s now a Rajya Sabha MP. Having begun his electoral profession as a member of the municipal council of Udupi after doing farming for a number of years, Fernandes grew to become an MP for the primary time in 1980 on the age of 39. He was handpicked by Sanjay Gandhi to contest the Lok Sabha seat from Udupi.

Oscar Fernandes (second from proper) with Sita Ram Kesari, Balraj Jakhar and Okay Karunakaran at CWC assembly. (Specific Archive)

After Sanjay’s loss of life, he grew to become a detailed affiliate and loyalist of Rajiv Gandhi, who first appointed him as one of many joint secretaries to help him in organisational issues after which made him a parliamentary secretary. “He labored over 18 hours a day… and the dedication impressed Rajiv,” a pacesetter mentioned. “He was unflappable. By no means misplaced his cool… was all the time smiling and affectionate in the direction of everybody,” a senior chief mentioned.

Rajiv additionally appointed him as President of Karnataka Congress in 1986.

Though he grew to become an MP in 1980, Fernandes may enter the union council of ministers solely in 2004 when was appointed Minister of State (Impartial Cost) of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. He held the portfolios of Youth Affairs and Sports activities and Abroad Indian Affairs and Labour and Employment. In 2013, he grew to become a cupboard minister in control of Street Transport and Highways.

Whereas Fernandes stayed away from controversies all by his life, his affiliation with the Related Journals Ltd (AJL) by Younger Indian Pvt Ltd (YIL) grew to become controversial. Other than the Gandhis, late Congress chief Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, journalist Suman Dubey and technocrat Sam Pitroda had been additionally named within the case. In keeping with paperwork, 76 per cent of shareholding of YIL is with Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, whereas the remaining 24 per cent vests within the others named within the case.

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