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George Fernandes: The trade unionist they thought would be the PM

The man whose call could bring a city like Mumbai to its knees, lead a very simple life, and even washed his clothes himself

Former defence minister George Fernandes
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File photo of Former defence minister George Fernandes passed away at the age of 88, in New Delhi on Tuesday morning, Jan 29, 2019.

Archis Mohan New Delhi
There was a time in the early 2000s, when Atal Bihari Vajpayee's health was on the decline, that friends and supporters of George Fernandes believed he could become India's Prime Minister. It would have been quite ironical had such a circumstance come about -- a Manglorean Catholic, who had trained to be a priest but quit to become a trade unionist, a socialist and a lifelong atheist, becoming the prime minister with the support of the Hindutva mouthing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). But as it turned out, the Vajpayee-led National Democratic Alliance lost the 2004 polls.

Within a few years

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First Published: Jan 29 2019 | 2:40 PM IST

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