Union minister Nitin Gadkari Tuesday said former defence minister George Fernandes was a staunch patriot and his icon.
Fernandes, who served as defence minister between 1998 and 2004, died Tuesday morning after a prolonged illness. He was 88.
In his condolence message, Gadkari said, "George Fernandes dedicated his life to the nation and democracy."
A staunch patriot, Fernandes fought for providing justice to workers, he said.
He guided the National Democratic Alliance as its convener and worked with (then prime minister) Atal Bihari Vajpayee successfully, the senior BJP leader said.
"We have lost a big leader... I considered him my icon. I am deeply saddened by his passing away," Gadkari said.