Former Defence Minister George Fernandes passed away on Tuesday at the age of 88. He was suffering from Alzheimer's disease and was bedridden for the past few years.

Fernandes was known for his opposing stance during the Emergency and served as the Defence Minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee's government. He was also a Union minister in the Janata Party government which was led by Morarji Desai from 1977 to 1980.

He also served as a Rajya Sabha MP from August 2009 and July 2010, which was his final role in politics.

Born in Mangalore in 1930, Fernandes was gearing up to become a Catholic priest when he came across trade union politics and realised that it was his true calling. 

George Fernandes
Former defence minister George FernandesPRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images

He then founded the Samata Party and dived head-on into politics. He spearheaded the anti-Emergency movement and was also arrested during that time for trying to blow up railway bridges. 

Other portfolios by Fernandes include industries minister from 1977 to 1979 when Morarji Desai was the Prime Minister and Railways Minister from 1989 to 1990 in the VP Singh government. 

During his tenure as the Defence Minister, Fernandes was in charge of nuclear tests in Pokharan for Kargil War. He was also a key player in the Barak missile deal and the Tehelka expose.