NEW DELHI: Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday expressed sadness over the demise of former finance minister and BJP stalwart Arun Jaitley and wrote a letter to Jaitley's wife Sangeeta Jaitley saying that the departed BJP leader attracted friends and admirers from different political parties.
In her letter, Sonia Gandhi wrote that Jaitley fought the cruel illness with "great courage and indomitable spirit till the end.""I am very sad to learn of the passing away of your beloved husband," said the Congress interim president.
The Congress leader lauded Jaitley for his sharp intellect and superb communication skills and said that Jaitley's talents were evident in every "position he held" including his stints as Cabinet minister, Leader of Opposition and a Supreme Court advocate.
Gandhi wrote, "Arun Jaitley fought his cruel illness with great courage till the end. His passing is all the more tragic because he was so young when he had so much more to contribute to national life. Words are of little consolation at this time of grief, but I wanted you, and your son and daughter to know that I share your pain. May Arun Ji find eternal peace".
Jaitley breathed his last at New Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at 12:07 PM on Saturday. He was 66. The senior BJP leader was admitted to the AIIMS on August 9 after he complained of restlessness.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was in UAE when he was informed about Jaitley's demise, paid his heartfelt tributes to his long-time friend and party colleague and also spoke with Jaitley's wife and son, who insisted that he should not cut short his foreign visit, according to news agency ANI. Besides PM Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind and top leaders cutting across the party lines expressed their deepest condolences to Jaitley's family over his death.
Veteran BJP leader LK Advani also expressing grief over the death of former finance minister and said in a statement that Jaitley was an outstanding parliamentarian and a superb administrator. “He was also someone who valued and nurtured his friendship with people across the political spectrum,” he said.