Oscar Fernandes, a prominent face of the UPA era and a minister in the Manmohan Singh governments, died on Monday at the age of 80. He passed away at a hospital in Mangaluru.
Fernandes, who began his political career as a municipal councillor in Udupi in 1975-76, was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 1980 from Udupi. He would represent Udupi a total of five consecutive times (winning elections in 1980, 1984, 1989, 1991, 1996).
Fernandes served as parliamentary secretary to prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1984-85 and was considered a trusted aide of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
After losing the 1999 Lok Sabha polls, Fernandes was nominated to the Rajya Sabha.
He served as minister of state overseeing a number of portfolios such as statistics and programme implementation, overseas Indian affairs, youth and sports affairs and labour and employment in the first first Manmohan Singh government from 2004 and then as minister of road transport and highways from 2013.
Oscar Fernandes was hospitalised and operated on for a blood clot in the brain in late July and had been ailing since then. He suffered the clot after falling accidentally.