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Published On: Sun, Aug 25th, 2019

Arun Jaitley cremated with full state honours in Delhi

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nigambodh-ghatNEW DELHI : Former finance minister and senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley was cremated with full state honours on Sunday, with leaders across the political spectrum paying tribute to the BJP stalwart. Jaitley’s last rites were performed by his son Rohan

A key strategist and troubleshooter of the saffron party and the Narendra Modi government in the first tenure, Jaitley passed away in AIIMS at the age of 66 after battling multiple health issues for the last several months.
Jaitley was admitted to hospital on August 9 and breathed his last at 12.07pm on Saturday. The urbane and media-savvy leader was one of the sharpest political minds not only within the BJP but also in the larger political spectrum where he made lifelong allies cutting across the ideological divide.
He was perhaps among the BJP bigwigs who made a smooth transition from the Atal-Advani era in the party to the one where Narendra Modi dominated, ushering in the rise of a new generation leaders. As soon as his death was reported, leaders cutting across party lines paid rich tributes with Prime Minister Modi calling him a “valued friend”.
“With the demise of Arun Jaitley Ji, I have lost a valued friend, whom I have had the honour of knowing for decades. His insight on issues and nuanced understanding of matters had very few parallels. He lived well, leaving us all with innumerable happy memories. We will miss him!” he said. Modi is currently in the UAE as part of his three-nation tour.
Most union ministers, with whom Mr Jaitley had served in the first term of PM Modi’s government, attended the funeral. Besides, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia, Congress’s Jyotiraditya Scindia and Mr Jaitley’s one-time opponent in court-room, Kapil Sibal, were present.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is abroad, missed the funeral. He offered to come back yesterday, but was dissuaded by Mr Jaitley’s family in view of his engagements. PM Modi is attending the G7 summit in France today after his visit to Bahrain. Arun Jaitley, a lawyer by profession, was the Finance Minister during PM Modi’s first term.
In the morning, mourners gathered at Mr Jaitley’s south Delhi residence and later, at the party office, where Vice-president Venkaiah Naidu, home minister Amit Shah and Defence minister Rajnath Singh paid floral tributes before the casket wrapped in the national flag.
Senior Congress leader Motilal Vohra, NCP leaders Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel, RLD leader Ajit Singh and former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP leader N Chandrababu Naidu also paid respects to Mr Jaitley.
One of the most trusted ministers of PM Modi, Mr Jaitley was acknowledged as the ultimate backroom strategist and a key troubleshooter of the party. As a minister, he had steered major economic legislation, including the flagship Goods and Services Tax, and defended controversial government policies.
The lawyer-turned-politician had triple heart bypass surgery when he was 52. A diabetic, his health had worsened after he underwent a kidney transplant in May last year. In February, he had to skip the presentation of the interim budget as he was in the United States for treatment.
Arun Jaitley, like Sushma Swaraj, was known to be part of LK Advani’s core team. Sushma Swaraj, one of the most popular ministers in the first term of PM Modi’s government, died on August 6. She was the second high-profile loss to the BJP after Manohar Parikkar, the former defence minister, who died in March.



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