ARUN Jaitley, Nicknamed Narendra Modi’s Chanakya, Passes AwayARUN Jaitley, former Union Minister and a long- standing Parliamentarian blessed with the rarest of rare forte to build consensus among varied political affiliations, is no more. The lawyer turned politico passed away on Saturday afternoon after a prolonged illness aged 66. Jaitley was admitted to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi on August 9 after he complained of breathlessness and restlessness. AIIMS said that Jaitley breathed his last at 12:07 PM. “It is with profound grief that we inform about the sad demise of Shri Arun Jaitley, honorable Member of Parliament and former Finance Minister, AIIMS said in a statement. BJP leader Sudhanshu Mittal said that Jaitley will be cremated on Sunday afternoon at the Nigambodh Ghat. He is survived by his wife Sangeeta and one son and one daughter.
President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Chief Minister of Odisha Navin Patnaik and her Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee and others condoled the death of the Delhi born BJP leader who was Leader of the Rajya Sabha till he quit due to failing healthy. President Kovind said, “A brilliant lawyer, a seasoned parliamentarian, and a distinguished Minister. He contributed immensely to nation building.” Vice President M Venkiah Naidu said that he was deeply shocked to learn about the demise of Jaitley, whom he described as a long time dear friend and one of my closest associates. “His death is an irreparable loss to the nation and a personal loss to me. I have no words to express my grief,” he said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in the UAE on an official tour, said that he has lost a valued friend, whom he had known 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!” Modi said in a series of tweets. Former president Pranab Mukherjee said he had visited him a day back and had prayed for his speedy recovery. “He was a leader with deep intellect and knowledge, and a voice of reason. He will be dearly missed. My prayers with his family, friends and admirers,” he said. Arun Jaitley had served as the finance minister in the Modi-led government during 2014-19 regime. The government took some bold decisions, including demonetization and implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) during his tenure. Jaitley did not seek any ministry in 2019 cabinet due to health issues. Jaitley’s political career dates back to 1980, when he joined the Janata Party after its formation. He was appointed as a member of the national executive of the BJP in 1991. He also served as a Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting (Independent Charge), Minister of State for Disinvestment (Independent Charge) in Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s regime. He further took the additional charge of the Ministry of Law, Justice and Company Affairs following the resignation of Ram Jethmalani as the Union Cabinet Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs. Jaitley was the first minister of shipping in the country. He later became the General Secretary of the BJP and its national spokesperson (edited by PK Chakravarty).