Family, friends, admirers bid emotional farewell to Fernandes

NEW DELHI: The mortal remains of George Fernandes were today cremated here amid chants of ‘George Sahab amar rahe’ as family, friends and admirers gathered to bid an emotional goodbye to the socialist leader.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, BJP veteran L K Advani, Union ministers Ram Vilas Paswan and Ravi Shankar Prasad, senior leaders Sharad Yadav and Upendra Kushwaha were among those who attended the cremation at the Lodhi electric crematorium.

The mortal remains of the former Defence Minister were brought from his home in a wooden casket on a military truck.

Chants of ‘George Sahab amar rahe’ (long live George Sahab), ‘Jab tak suraj chand rahega, Goerge tera naam rahega’ (Your name will be as immortal as the sun and the moon) also rent the air at the crematorium as his body was placed at a platform there for people to pay respect.

Besides family members, including wife Leila Kabir, son Sean and Fernandes’s brothers, the leader’s close associate Jaya Jaitly and former cricketer Ajay Jadeja also were present during the cremation.

An hour-long prayer service was held in the morning at Fernandes’s residence — Shanti Niwas — at Panchsheel Park with the Bihar chief minister visiting the family again before the cremation that took place at 3 pm.

Fernandes died Tuesday at the age of 88 at his residence after prolonged illness. He was suffering from Alzheimer’s disorder that had left him debilitated. (AGENCIES)