New Delhi, Former Union Minister and senior BJP stalwart Arun Jaitley passed away here on Saturday at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences after a long and protracted battle with cancer. He was 66. “It is with profound grief that we inform about the sad demise of Shri Arun Jaitley, Hon’ble member of Parliament and former finance minister at 1207 hrs on 24th August, 2019.” the hospital confirmed in a statement.
Cremation will be held on Sunday afternoon, sources said. President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the demise of former Union minister, who has been ailing for some time now.
Mr Kovind said Jaitley possessed a unique ability of discharging the most onerous responsibility with poise and passion. ‘Shri Arun Jaitley possessed a unique ability of discharging the most onerous responsibility with poise, passion and studied understanding.’
Mr Modi, currently in UAE to attend the bilateral meet, spoke to Jaitley’s family who insisted him not to cut short his visit. After the UAE, Mr Modi is scheduled to visit Bahrain.
In a series of tweets, the Prime Minister said, ‘Arun Jaitley Ji was a political giant, towering intellectual and legal luminary. He was an articulate leader who made a lasting contribution to India. His passing away is very saddening. Spoke to his wife Sangeeta Ji as well as son Rohan, and expressed condolences. Om Shanti.”
Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also condoled the passing away of former Finance Minister who was responsible for ushering in the GST regime.
The suave lawmaker, with a long experience in both matters legal and political, was someone Prime Minister Modi actively relied on for sound policy making. He was admitted in the AIIMS on August 9 and was being treated by a multidisciplinary team of senior doctors.
Jaitley — one of the prominent faces of Indian politics — had also undergone a renal transplant on May 14 last year at AIIMS. Jaitley, who was admitted after complaining of breathlessness and weakness, stopped responding to treatment and his condition deteriorated on Friday night.
Initially, he was on advanced life support system and under continuous monitoring of a multidisciplinary team of doctors. He was also suffering from Diabetes and was recently treated in the US in January for soft tissue cancer. He is survived by wife, son and daughter.