George Fernandes felted on his 77th birthday

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Bangalore, Jan 17 (UNI) Rich tributes were paid to former Defence Minister and Lok Sabha member George Fernandes, the doyen of Indian socialist movement at 'George Abhinandane' organised by his friends and well wishers who turns 77 years this year, here today.

Speaking on the occasion Sri Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader described George Fernandes as a great humanitarian and believer in truth who had struggled throughout his life for lending a voice to millions of voiceless people of the country.

Stating that he had known Mr Fernandes for over five decades and stood for the cause of millions of Tibetans and has carried firm conviction for justice and wisdom.

Former Deputy Prime Minister and BJP leader L K Advani recalled his long-association with Mr Fernandes and said that both struggled hard to break the hegemony of Congress and succeeded in 1977. "My association with George Fernandes goes back to 1967 when George when he had defeated Congress stalwart S K Patil in Mumbai," Mr Advani said.

Lok Sabha deputy speaker Charnjit Singh Atwal, former Minister of state for Defence Harin Pathak, former minister Digvijay Singh, Mr Thampan Thomas, President Hind Mazdoor Sabha, also spoke on the occasion. Karkataka Assembly speaker Krishna, former Union minister and Lok Sabha member Ananth Kumar, former Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, Former Chief Justice of Supreme Court of India, Justice Venkatachalaiah were also present among others.

In his reply to the felicitation Mr Fernandes, who struggled to read his short written speech thanked for felicitating him. "The presence of Dalai Lama and others will bring more strength to go with struggle for the causes of poor and downtrodden," he said.

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