Thu, 14 Nov 2019

New Delh [India]i, Aug 24: (ANI) Former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the face of the middle class in BJP and who was a close aide of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, died here on Saturday at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) following prolonged illness.

66-year-old Jaitley, who was Lawand Information Minister in the Vajpayee government and held the portfolios of Finance, Defence and Information and Broadcasting during the first term of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, leaves his wife Sangeeta, son and a daughter.

His body was taken to his house in Greater Kailash area in South Delhi where it will be kept till tomorrow morning. It will be taken to the BJP headquarters tomorrow morning before funeral at the Nigambodh Ghat on the banks of Yamuna.

"It is with profound grief that we inform about the sad demise of Arun Jaitley, Member of Parliament and former finance Minister, Government of India at 12:07 pm on August 24, 2019," the hospital said in a statement.

Admitted to the hospital on Aug 9, he was being monitored by the multidisciplinary team of doctors including a pulmonologist, a cardiologist and a nephrologist. His health condition had worsened in the past two weeks.

A senior doctor, who spoke on the condition of anonymity told ANI, that a team of doctors at AIIMS had spoken to Jaitley's family members last week as chances of his survival seemed bleak.

"On late Thursday night last week, he was put on ECMO. This is a higher version of a ventilator. His lungs were not working. ECMO was used to manage his heart. As he was also diagnosed with soft tissue skin cancer, fungal infection increased extensively,," the doctor said.

The former Union Minister was a diabetic and had undergone a kidney transplant last year in May. He was also diagnosed of a rare soft tissue sarcoma cancer.

The 66-year leader's death has left a void in the BJP with all its senior leaders expressing a deep sense of loss.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah were among the party leaders who condoled his demise. Congress leaders, including interim party chief Sonia Gandhi, also paid their tributes.

Modi, who is in UAE as part of a three-nation visit, described Jaitley as a "political giant, towering intellectual and legal luminary" and said he had lost a "valued friend" whom he had "the honour of knowing" for decades and whose insight on issues and nuanced understanding of matters had very few parallels.

He remembered Jaitley in a series of tweets and said the party will miss him.

"With the demise of Arun Jaitleyji, 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.

"Arun Jaitleyji 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 SangeetaJi as well as son Rohan, and expressed condolences. Om Shanti," he added.

Modi also recalled Jaitley's wit, sense of humour, charisma and his knowledge across domains.

"Full of life, blessed with wit, a great sense of humour and charisma, Arun Jaitleyji was admired by people across all sections of society. He was multi-faceted, having impeccable knowledge about India's Constitution, history, public policy, governance and administration."He praised the former finance minister for taking "multiple ministerial responsibilities" and contributing to India's growth across sectors.

"During his long political career, Arun Jaitley held multiple ministerial responsibilities, which enabled him to contribute towards India's economic growth, strengthening our defence capabilities, creating people-friendly laws and enhancing trade with other nations," he said.

Modi said Jaitley was a much-liked face of BJP.

"BJP and Arun Jaitleyji had an unbreakable bond. As a fiery student leader, he was at the forefront of protecting our democracy during the Emergency. He became a much-liked face of our party, who could articulate the party programmes and ideology to a wide spectrum of society."Jaitley, a member of Rajya Sabha, was admitted on August 9 to All at AIIMS's Cardio Neuro Centre (CNC) in the ICU ward and was put on artificial life support system after the complaints of breathlessness, weakness and palpitation.

It is with profound grief that we inform about the sad demise ofArun Jaitley, Member of Parliament and former finance Minister, Government of India at 12:07 pm on August 24, 2019," the hospital said in a statement. He was being m"onitored by the multidisciplinary team of doctors including a pulmonologist, a cardiologist and a nephrologist. His health condition had worsened in the past two weeks.

A senior doctor, who spoke on the condition of anonymity told ANI, that a team of doctors at AIIMS had spoken to Jaitley's family members last week as chances of his survival seemed bleak.

"On late Thursday night last week, he was put on ECMO. This is a higher version of a ventilator. His lungs were not working. ECMO was used to manage his heart. As he was also diagnosed with soft tissue skin cancer, fungal infection increased extensively,," the doctor said.

The former Union Minister was a diabetic and had undergone a kidney transplant last year in May. He was also diagnosed of a rare soft tissue sarcoma cancer.

Expressing his condolences, Shah said he was deeply pained at Jaitley's death and he will "forever be a guiding light for me".

"Deeply pained by the demise of Arun Jaitleyji. It is like a personal loss for me. I have not only lost a senior party leader but also an important family member who will forever be a guiding light for me," Shah said in a tweet.

Rajnath Singh said he was "deeply anguished" by Jaitley's demise.

"Deeply anguished by the demise of my friend and an extremely valued colleague Arun Jaitleyji. He was a proficient lawyer by profession and an efficient politician by passion," he said in a tweet.

Singh said he was an "asset to the government and party".

"Arun Jaitleyji served the nation in several capacities and he was an asset to the government and the party organisation. He always had a deep and clear understanding of the issues of the day. His knowledge and articulation won him, several friends," he added.

Sonia Gandhi said Jaitley had a long innings as a public figure, Parliamentarian and Minister and his contributions to public life will forever be remembered."Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi's husband Robert Vadra expressed his condolences and said Jaitley came across as a "very pleasant personality".

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor remembered Jaitley as a friend from his days at Delhi Unversity and said his demise was a great loss for India.

"Deeply saddened by the tragic passing of my friend and Delhi University senior Arun Jaitley. We first met when he was at DUSU and I was President of St Stephen's College Union. Despite political differences, we enjoyed healthy mutual respect and debated his budget often in Lok Sabha. A great loss for India," Tharoor tweeted.

Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said Jaitley, an "old friend and a dear colleague" will be remembered for his seminal contributions to the polity and as finance minister of India. "As Leader of Opposition, he was without a match. He always stood steadfastly for his friends and for his party," he wrote on Twitter.

Jaitley, a four-time member of Rajya Sabha, became a Cabinet minister in the government of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2000. He was Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha from June 2009.

Jaitley was finance and corporate affairs minister in the first term of Modi government and also held portfolios of defence and Information and Broadcasting. Due to his health reasons, he was also a minister without portfolios for brief periods twice. He opted out of the ministry due to health reasons. (ANI)

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