Expressing grief over the death of former finance minister and party colleague Arun Jaitley, veteran BJP leader LK Advani on Saturday said that the late leader was a food lover who always used to recommend good restaurants to him.
“As a person, Arunji will be remembered as a soft-spoken, erudite and warm-hearted person. A food lover, he never failed to recommend good restaurants to me,” Advani said in a statement.
Describing Jaitley as an outstanding parliamentarian, Advani remarked that he was also a superb administrator. Advani noted that Jaitley was a big name in the legal field too. “He was also someone who valued and nurtured his friendship with people across the political spectrum,” he said.
Advani said that Jaitley was a dedicated party worker who had worked tirelessly for the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP). He added that the BJP was hugely dependent on Jaitley in order to find solutions for complex issues.
“A dedicated party worker for decades, he was someone who was inducted into the BJP core team when I was Party President and he soon rose to become one of the most prominent leaders of the party,” he said.
“Arunji was known and respected for his sharp, analytical mind and everyone in the BJP always depended on him for finding solutions to complex issues,” the veteran leader stressed.
“Also on every Deepawali, he made it a point to come with his family to our home to wish us. Although Arunji was hospitalised for the last couple of weeks, we were all hoping that he would recover soon,” he said.
Terming Jaitley’s demise as a huge loss for the country, Advani said that the former finance minister's death is a huge personal loss for him. “To me, it is a personal loss that has left a huge void. May his soul rest in peace,” he added.
Jaitley died at the age of 66 after a prolonged illness on Saturday at New Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). His body was taken from the hospital to his residence in Kailash Colony where several political leaders from different political parties arrived to pay their tribute to the departed soul.
Jaitley's body will be shifted from his residence to BJP headquarters at 10 am on Sunday for party workers and the public to pay their last respects and his funeral procession will begin from the BJP headquarters to the Nigam Bodh Ghat, where his last rites will be performed.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is currently on a foreign tour, in a series of tweets called Jaitley a political stalwart, towering intelligent and a sensible person with a good sense of humour.
The 66-year-old leader had held various portfolios including Finance, Defence, Corporate Affairs, Commerce and Industry and Law and Justice in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Narendra Modi governments.