Arun Jaitley, the former finance minister and a stalwart of the Bharatiya Janata Party, passed away on Saturday at 12.07 P.M. at All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) hospital in New Delhi. He was 66 years old.
Jaitley, 66, was undergoing treatment at the hospital for several weeks from August 9 after he complained of breathlessness and restlessness. He was kept under observation at the Cardio-Neuro-Centre of the hospital, however, his condition kept on deteriorating.
Arun Jaitley’s last rites will be performed on Sunday afternoon at the Nigambodh Ghat in New Delhi.
Jaitley, a lawyer by profession, had been an important part in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet in the BJP government’s first term. He held the finance and defense portfolios, and often acted as the chief troubleshooter of the government.
Jaitley, 66, as a senior leader of BJP stepped down as finance minister in January due to ill health, just months before elections that returned Modi’s Hindu nationalists to power.
“With the demise of Arun Jaitley Ji, I have lost a valued friend, whom I have had the honor of knowing for decades,” PM Modi regretted on Twitter. “His insight on issues and nuanced understanding of matters had very few parallels.”
He had undergone a renal transplant on May 14 last year at AIIMS with Railways Minister Piyush Goyal filling in for him in the finance ministry at that time. Following which he was put under isolation. Four years earlier, in 2014, Arun Jaitley underwent a bariatric surgery to address the excess weight he had gained due to diabetes.
During the Narendra Modi government’s first term in office, Arun Jaitley was seen as the prime minister’s ‘go-to’ man. Jaitley was the one to take on the responsibilities of temporarily handling ministries other than his primary portfolio of finance.
Jaitley, who had stopped attending office since early April last year, was back in the finance ministry on August 23, 2018. He is survived by his wife and two children.