|New Delhi: Former Union Minister and senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley passed away at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at 12:07 pm on Saturday after battling months of ill health.|
"It is with profound grief that we inform about the sad demise of Shri Arun Jaitley. Honourable Member of Parliament and former finance minister, government of India at 12:07 pm on 24 August, 2019," the AIIMS statement read.
The veteran BJP leader, who was brought in to the hospital on August 9, had been put on life support and was being monitored by a multidisciplinary team of doctors.
He is survived by his wife Sangeeta and two children Rohan and Sonali.
The body has been kept at his residence in New Delhi where leading political personalities paid their tributes.
His body will be brought to the BJP headquarters tomorrow morning where party members will pay their last respects.
Former finance minister Arun Jaitley's mortal remains will be cremated at Delhi's Nigam Bodh Ghat tomorrow, BJP working President J P Nadda said on Saturday.
"From AIIMS Arun Jaitley's mortal remains will be taken to his residence in Kailash colony. His body will be kept there till 10 am tomorrow and from there it will be taken to the BJP headquarters for party workers and the public to pay their last respects. His final journey will begin from BJP headquarters to the Nigambodh Ghat, where last rites will be performed," Nadda told reporters here.
He, however, added that the timing for the cremation of Jaitley's mortal remains is yet to be decided.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is on a state visit to the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and France, spoke to Arun Jaitley’s wife and son and expressed his condolences. They insisted the PM not cancel his current foreign tour.
Prime Minister' Office is contemplating to arrange a quick visit for PM Modi on Sunday. PM Modi has flown to Bahrain from the UAE on Saturday.
PM Modi tweeted, "Jaitley Ji was a political giant, towering intellectual & legal luminary. He was an articulate leader who made a lasting contribution to India. His passing away is very saddening. Spoke to his wife Sangeeta Ji as well as son Rohan, & expressed condolences. Om Shanti."
President Ram Nath Kovind also expressed condolences on Jaitley's demise. "Extremely saddened by the passing of Shri Arun Jaitley after battling a long illness with fortitude and dignity. A brilliant lawyer, a seasoned parliamentarian, and a distinguished Minister, he contributed immensely to nation building," he tweeted.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla reached AIIMS and Home Minister Amit Shah cut short his visit to Hyderabad and returned to Delhi following Jailtey's death.
"Deeply pained by the demise of Arun Jaitley ji. 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," Amit Shah tweeted.
Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said Jaitley would always be remembered for "pulling the economy out of the gloom and putting it back on the right track". Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, who was leaving for Andhra Pradesh from Chennai, also rushed to New Delhi.
Several leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and other top BJP and Congress leaders had often visited Jaitley in hospital while he was on life-support.
Jaitley first became a Cabinet minister in the government of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2000. He then also went on to serve as the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha from June 2009.
He was appointed the finance minister in the first term of Modi government in 2014. He opted out of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections citing health reasons.
He had undergone a kidney transplant on May 14 last year at AIIMS with Railways Minister Piyush Goyal filling in for him in the finance ministry at that time.
In September 2014, he underwent bariatric surgery to correct the weight he had gained because of a long-standing diabetic condition.
As a consummate lawyer, Jaitley handled tricky political situations with ease, worked out winning electoral strategies and presented even the most complicated political, legal or business issues with clarity.