Sea of Mourners Visit Father Muller Hospital Mortuary to View the Body of Oscar Fernandes

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Sea of Mourners Visit Father Muller Hospital Mortuary to View the Body of Former union minister and Rajya Sabha member Oscar Fernandes, who passed away at the age of 80

Mangaluru: Former union minister and Rajya Sabha member Oscar Fernandes, who was critical after suffering injuries after an accidental fall, passed away at 2.15 pm on Monday, 13 September. He was 80. Oscar was availing treatment in the ICU at Yenepoya Hospital in the city since July. While he had been for routine dialysis, he underwent a check-up for a severe headache. Oscar Fernandes was hospitalized and operated on for a blood clot in the brain in late July and had been ailing since then. He had suffered the clot after falling accidentally. As he had internal injuries, he was admitted to the ICU in the hospital. A plethora of senior Congress leaders including former chief minister Siddaramaiah and State Congress chief D K Shivakumar, and Lok Sabha opposition leader Mallikarjun Kharge had made a beeline to visit the Congress veteran. He is survived by wife Blossom Fernandes and two children.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his grief over the demise of Fernandes and extended his condolences to the bereaved family. A sea of mourners, including politicians, priests, nuns, entrepreneurs, educationists, among others visited the Father Muller Hospital Mortuary on Monday, 13 September evening to view the body of Oscar Fernandes.

Hailing from Udupi, Oscar Fernandes had been a member of Parliament since 1980. As a Union minister in the UPA government, Fernandes held the portfolios of Road Transport and Highways, Labour and Employment, Statistics and Programme Implementation and Overseas Affairs both as a Cabinet Minister and Minister of State. He was among the close confidants of Indira Gandhi’s family, including former prime minister late Rajiv Gandhi, his wife Sonia Gandhi and son Rahul Gandhi. He served Rajiv Gandhi as his Parliamentary Secretary. He had held various positions in the All India Congress Committee (AICC), including general secretary, and had served as president of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC). He was among the six trustees of the National Herald.

For the first time, he was elected to the 7th Lok Sabha in 1980 from the Udupi constituency. From the same constituency, Oscar was re-elected to the Lok Sabha in 1984, 1989, 1991 and 1996. He was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1998. He was re-elected to the Rajya Sabha in 2004. Served as Union Minister from 2004 to 2009, on portfolios such as NRI Affairs, Youth and Sports Affairs, Statistics and Programme Implementation and Labour and Employment. Also, he was a member of the Council of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. Oscar also served as a member of the Municipal Council in Udupi from 1972 to 1976.

He served as a member of the Lok Sabha from Udupi from 1980-98 and was a member of Rajya Sabha since 1998. He had his early education in Board High School in Udupi and had graduated from the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial College in Udupi. He entered politics through the Youth Congress and was elected to the then Udupi civic body in 1972. He entered the Lok Sabha from the then Udupi constituency in 1980 and was re-elected until he lost to I. M. Jayaram Shetty of BJP in 1998. Later, he got elected to the Rajya Sabha. A practitioner of yoga, Oscar Fernandes had spoken in support of the Indian systems of medicine, including naturopathy, in Parliament.

BLOSSOM FERNANDES- Wife of Oscar Fernandes


Speaking to Team Mangalorean, Former MLA J R Lobo said, “Oscar was a talented person. He was passionate about sports like kabaddi, volleyball, swimming and arts like Yakshagana. He practised Yoga and has performed in many places. He was a ‘Kuchipudi’ dancer which he learnt in Delhi. He played the mouth organ from his childhood. Oscar used to play the harmonium, keyboard, tabla and compose poems before getting actively involved in politics. He was a singer too. Whenever time permitted, he used to sing in the church choir. He was a religious person, and actively involved in Church activities, in Mangaluru and Udupi. Congress lost a gem of a person who had played an active role in the congress committee at the National, State and district levels. He will be sadly missed”.

Also speaking, former minister Ramanath Rai said, “I have known Oscar for a long time and we had a close relationship, either being in the Congress party and outside the party. He was a simple and respected person with keen political acumen and genuine concern for the welfare of the common man. Congress party at the national, state and district level has lost a leader who had endeared himself to all hues and shades of politics by his affable nature and transparent sincerity in handling people’s issues. He was involved in various Congress activities, and made the right decisions for the benefit of the Congress party”

Former minister Abhayachandra Jian said, “I remember him as an affable, soft-spoken and humble personality who truly believed that politics was about working for the “have-nots”. He was an organisational man and people’s man, especially the common people. He was very committed and so passionate about work, and it was Fernandes’s hard work that prompted Gandhi to appoint him as a parliamentary secretary attached to him in December 1984 when he took over as the Prime Minister. He was handpicked by Sanjay Gandhi to contest the Lok Sabha seat from Udupi. Oscar was unflappable. Never lost his cool… was always smiling and affectionate towards everyone, and he stayed away from controversies all through his life”.

Fr Richard Coelho-the Director of Father Muller Charitable Institutions, Mangaluru, and former MLA J R Lobo expressed their thoughts on Oscar Fernandes- listen to them on the video below


Tentative Funeral Details of Oscar Fernandes

Date 14 /09 /2021

8:00 a.m.: Body leaves Father Muller Hospital, Mangaluru to Udupi

9:30 a.m.: Reaching Mother of Sorrows Church, Udupi; 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Prayer and Blessings; 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 pm Public viewing at District Congress Office, Udupi.

1:30 a.m.: Departure from Udupi to Mangaluru; 3:00 p.m.: Arrival District Congress Office, Mallikatta, Mangaluru; 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.: Public viewing at District Congress Office, Mangaluru; 5:00 p.m: Body will be taken back to Father Muller Hospital Mortuary.

15 September:

9.30 am Mass at Milagres Church, Mangaluru also public viewing, after which his body will be shifted subsequently to KPCC office, Bengaluru for people to pay their respects.

The final rites will be conducted at St Patrick Church, Richmond Road, Bengaluru. More details of Bengaluru schedule will be updated later. It is learnt that Rahul Gandhi and other top Congress leaders from Delhi will be arriving at Bengaluru to pay their last respects.

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