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Full of life, towering intellectual and valued friend: PM Narendra Modi's tribute to Arun Jaitley

The 66-year-old leader was a key party strategist. He played a pivotal role in banning triple talaq and pushing major economic legislations such as the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Full of life, towering intellectual and valued friend: PM Narendra Modi's tribute to Arun Jaitley

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday paid his heartfelt tributes to his long-time friend and party colleague Arun Jaitley, who died at the age of 66 at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi.

PM Modi, who is currently in UAE, spoke with Jaitley's wife and son, who insisted that he should not cut short his foreign visit, according to news agency ANI.

In a series of tweets, the PM called Jaitley a political stalwart, towering intelligent and a sensible person with a good sense of humour.    

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Tributes and condolences started pouring in minutes after BJP veteran Arun Jaitley died on Saturday after a long battle with illness. The 66-year-old veteran leader, who held several important portfolios in his political career spanning over four decades, breathed his last at 12.07 pm on Saturday the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) in New Delhi.

Confirmed his demise, AIIMS released a statement, which read, “It is with profound grief that we inform about the sad demise of Shri Arun Jaitley, Hon’ble Member of Parliament & Former Finance Minister, Government of India at 12.07 pm on 24th August, 2019. Shri Arun Jaitley was admitted in AIIMS, New Delhi on 09/08/2019 and was treated by a multidisciplinary team of senior Doctors.”

Jaitley was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Science on August 9 and was later put on the ventilator. His condition improved but he remained under doctors' observation. On August 16, the BJP leader's health once again deteriorated and he was put on life support.

Jaitley underwent a bariatric surgery to correct the weight gain due to his long-standing diabetic condition in September 2014 and renal transplant at AIIMS in May 2018. He also underwent a surgery in the US on January 22 and missed presenting Narendra Modi government's sixth Union Budget as the Finance Minister in 2018.

Jaitley did not contest the 16th Lok Sabha election on health grounds nor was he visible on any platform following the massage victory and celebration programmes.

The 66-year-old leader was a key party strategist. He played a pivotal role in banning triple talaq and pushing major economic legislations such as the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

A lawyer by profession, he has been one of the most important leaders in the Narendra Modi Cabinet from 2014 to 2019 and often acted as the chief troubleshooter for the government.

He held the portfolios of Finance, Defence, Corporate Affairs, Commerce and Industry and Law and Justice in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Narendra Modi governments.