Bhubaneswar, Jan 29 (PTI) Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday condoled the demise of former defence minister George Fernandes, saying it is a great loss for the country, politically as well as intellectually.Also Read - The Subtle Sexism of Salman Khan's Tweet to Boxing Champion Nikhat Zareen!

The 88-year-old former union minister and socialist leader died in New Delhi on Tuesday, after suffering from a prolonged illness. Also Read - Google, Facebook, Twitter Under Centre's Radar Again Over Anti-Competitive Practices

“Deeply saddened at passing away of former Union minister and stalwart leader George Fernandes. It is a great loss for the nation, both politically as well as intellectually,” Patnaik wrote on Twitter. Also Read - Twitter Employee Caught on Camera Mocking Elon Musk's Asperger's & Trashing Free Speech | Watch

“Pray for his soul to rest in peace and my condolences for his family and followers,” he said.

Union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Jual Oram also expressed grief on the demise of Fernandes.

“Deeply saddened by the passing away of former Defence Minister Shri George Fernandes. A veteran socialist leader, an Anti-Emergency crusader and a man of immense courage, his death leaves a big void in Indian Polity,” Pradhan, the Union Petroleum Minister, said in a Twitter post.

“My thoughts and prayers are with his family in this hour of grief,” he added.

Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram said Fernandes was a simple and open-minded leader, who served the country and the poor with dedication.

Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Niranjan Patnaik, too, voiced grief.

“My deepest condolences to the family, friends and followers of Former Union Minister Shri #GeorgeFernandes. May his soul rest in peace,” he said on Twitter.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.