Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday met the family of late Arun Jaitley at their residence in the national capital. The PM paid tributes to him and extended condolences to the bereaved family.
PM Modi could not attend the funeral of the former finance minister as he was not present in the country and was on a three-nation visit to France, UAE, and Bahrain. He had, however, spoken to Jaitley's family following the news of his demise and expressed his condolences.
In a series of tweets, PM Modi had called Jaitley a political stalwart, towering intelligent and a sensible person with a good sense of humour.
In a heartfelt tribute, Prime Minister Narendra said, "Mera dost Arun chala gaya. (My friend Arun is gone)." Referring to the late BJP leader as "Bhai" (brother) throughout the speech, the PM added, "We started the political journey together and his death is a personal loss for me." He also remmembered late BJP leader Sushma Swaraj, who passed away earlier in August.
"Full of life, blessed with wit, a great sense of humour and charisma, Arun Jaitley Ji 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. During his long political career, Arun Jaitley Ji 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," tweeted PM Modi.
"BJP and Arun Jaitley Ji had an unbreakable bond. As a fiery student leader, he was at 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. With the demise of Arun Jaitley Ji, 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!," added PM Modi.
66-year-old Jaitley passed away at the AIIMS hospital in New Delhi on August 24. A four-time member of Rajya Sabha, he 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 2009-2014. Jaitley was also the Finance and Corporate Affairs minister in the first term of Modi government and also held portfolios of Defence and Information and Broadcasting.
He did not contest the 2019 Lok Sabha election, because of his ill-health. In May 2018, Jaitley was admitted to AIIMS for treatment. He had undergone a renal transplant on May 14, 2019, at AIIMS with Railways Minister Piyush Goyal filling in for him in the Finance Ministry at that time.