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Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Oscar Fernandes passed away in Mangalore on Monday. He was 80.

A sitting Member of the Rajya Sabha, he was critically injured after he fell accidentally while doing his regular exercise on July 20 this year. He was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in a super speciality hospital at Mangalore.

A veteran congress leader, Fernandes was the Union minister for transport, road highways, labour and employment in the UPA government headed by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He was regarded to have a solid working relationship with Congress leaders at all levels.

He served as the AICC General Secretary and was a close confidant of Congress President Sonia Gandhi and used to be known as a trouble-shooter for the party as he handled various situations.

Many prominent Congress leaders of Karnataka, former chief minister Siddaramaiah and State Congress chairman D.K. Shivakumar, as well as Lok Sabha opposition leader Mallikarjun Kharge had rushed to pay their respects to the Congress veteran, a local Congress office-bearer said on Monday.

Expressing his grief over the demise of the Congress leader, the former party president and senior leader Rahul Gandhi said, "My heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Shri Oscar Fernandes Ji. It is a personal loss for me. He was a guide and mentor to many of us in the Congress Party. He will be missed and fondly remembered for his contributions."

Congress Media Department head and General Secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala said that a banyan tree of the congress party has fallen. "Oscar Fernandes ji was a guide, mentor, and organization builder, who connected to the Congress workers & they loved him in return. A "banyan tree" of the Congress Party has fallen. There will perhaps never be anyone like him. Our heartfelt homage to an eternal Congressman", Surjewala said.

Born on March 27, 1941, Fernandes started his political career as Councillor of Udupi Municipal Council in 1972. He is survived by his wife Blossom Fernandes, son and a daughter.
 

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