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TN a heaven for George Fernandes during emergency

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Press Trust of India Chennai
George Fernandes found refuge in Tamil Nadu during the infamous emergency in 1975 and worked form a house here.
"Tamil Nadu was like a sanctuary to several leaders from North India during the emergency and Kalaignar (M Karunanidhi) was the Chief Minister during that period," DMK spokesperson K S Radhakrishnan said recalling Fernandes' stay here then.
Fernandes, who died Tuesday, was very close to late Karunanidhi, he said.
Karunanidhi opposed the emergency and the DMK government led by him was dismissed on January 31, 1976.
"During the emergency period, Fernandes worked without attracting anyone's attention from a house near Foreshore Estate and when he went to Kolkata by train from Chennai, he was arrested," Radhakrishnan told PTI.
When Karunanidhi was arrested in 2001 during the AIADMK regime, Fernandes, who was then the convener of the National Democratic Alliance, had visited the DMK patriarch at the Central Prison here and then Union Minister Murasoli Maran at a hospital.
Karunanidhi was arrested over allegations of corruption in the construction of flyovers here. He was released later.
Fernandes visited Chennai as the emissary of late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and held discussions with frontline DMK leaders on the way forward after Karunanidhi's arrest.
"Be it the Eelam Tamils issue or the Koodankulam nuclear plant...or any other important issue concerning the state, he stood shoulder to shoulder with Tamil Nadu," Radhakrishnan said in a Facebook post.
Praising Fernandes for his simplicity, the DMK spokesperson said the late leader had only two or three sets of "kurta and pyjama". He used to be admired for his handwriting in English.
Fernandes had also participated in several meetings organised by Radhakrishnan as a law college student decades ago.

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First Published: Jan 29 2019 | 8:10 PM IST

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