Veteran BJP leader Arun Jaitley passes away in Delhi

New Delhi: Two weeks after being hospitalised, former Finance minister and senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley’s health deteriorated today and he passed away at AIIMS in the national capital.

Jaitley was rushed to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) 9 August after he complained of breathlessness and restlessness. AIIMS has not issued any bulletin on Arun Jaitley’s health since 10 August.

Hospital sources Tuesday said he was on life support. A multi-disciplinary team of doctors was monitoring his condition.

Several prominent leaders, including President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Smriti Irani, Jitendra Singh and Ram Vilas Paswan, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Congress’s Abhishek Singhvi and Jyotiraditya Scindia and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat visited the hospital in recent days to enquire about Jaitley’s health and meet his family members.

Jaitley, a lawyer by profession, had been a key member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet in the BJP government’s first term. He held the Finance and Defence portfolios, and often acted as the chief troubleshooter of the government.

Jaitley did not contest the 2019 Lok Sabha election, presumably because of his ill-health. In May this year, Arun Jaitley was admitted to AIIMS for treatment.

He had undergone a renal transplant 14 May last year at AIIMS with Railways Minister Piyush Goyal filling in for him in the Finance Ministry at the time. Jaitley, who had stopped attending office since early April last year, was back in the Finance Ministry 23 August 2018.

In September 2014, he underwent bariatric surgery to correct the weight he had gained because of a long-standing diabetic condition.

Jaitley was among the leaders jailed by the Indira Gandhi government during Emergency. He was a student leader at the time. After being released from jail, he joined active politics as a member of the Jan Sangh and rose in the ranks of the organisation, which later became the BJP.

Jaitley has been a member of the BJP national executive since 1991. He was appointed Minister of State (Independent charge) for Information and Broadcasting when Atal Bihari Vajpayee formed the government in 1999, and then went on to handle the crucial portfolio of disinvestment. A year later, he became a Cabinet Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs.

Jaitley is survived by his wife and two children.

Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, Senior leaders from the BJP and Congress condoled his demise.

AMIT SHAH RUSHES TO DELHI

Union Home Minister Amit Shah has cut short his visit to Hyderabad and is returning to Delhi following the passing away of Jaitley. He termed the former Finance minister’s death a personal loss.

Agency