"Huge Loss To Nation": Leaders Across Party Lines Remember Arun Jaitley

Former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley died at Delhi's AIIMS hospital at 12:07 pm today. He was 66.

'Huge Loss To Nation': Leaders Across Party Lines Remember Arun Jaitley

Arun Jaitley was admitted to the AIIMS after he complained of breathlessness and restlessness.

New Delhi:

Veteran BJP leader Arun Jaitley's death on Saturday is being mourned by politicians across party lines. The former finance minister, who was admired and respected by everyone, died at Delhi's AIIMS at 12:07 pm at the age of 66. He was admitted to the hospital on August 9 and was treated by a multidisciplinary team of senior doctors, according to AIIMS statement.

Arun Jaitley, a lawyer by training, was a close aide of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In a series of tweets, PM Modi condoled his death and wrote that he has lost a valued friend.

Tributes poured in on Twitter for the stalwart leader from across the political spectrum who shared memories with the ace leader.

"Deeply anguished by the demise of my friend and an extremely valued colleague Shri Arun Jaitley ji. He was a proficient lawyer by profession and an efficient politician by passion," Defence Minister Rajnath Singh wrote on Twitter.

"Jaitleyji will always be remembered for pulling the economy out of the gloom and putting it back on the right track. The BJP will miss Arunji's presence. I extend my heartfelt condolences to his bereaved family,” Mr Singh wrote.

Home Minister Amit Shah wrote that nation will always remember his contributions.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi, in her condolence message for Arun Jaitley, said that his contributions will be forever remembered.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that Arun Jaitley was a large-hearted person and always ready to help everyone. "No words can describe the loss of Shri Arun Jaitley. A mentor to many of us, a guide and a moral support and strength. Have learnt so much from him. A fine large-hearted person. Always ready to help anyone/everyone. His intelligence, sagacity, astuteness have no match," she tweeted.

"A stalwart who paid tribute to his simple beginnings by helping those with meagre means . Orator par excellence, legal luminary Arun Jaitley ji served the Nation and sangathan with dedication and zeal. My tributes to him. Condolences to loved ones. Om Shanti," Women And Child Development Minister Smriti Irani tweeted.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal wrote, "Untimely demise of former FM and senior leader Sh Arun Jaitley ji is a huge loss to the nation. A legal luminary and an experienced political leader known for his governance skills will be missed by the country. Thoughts and prayers with his family in this moment of grief. RIP"

"Will always miss him," Union Minister Nitin Gadkari tweeted.

Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal tweeted a picture with him and wrote, "Very sorry to learn that Arun Jaitley is no more . An old friend and a dear colleague will be remembered for his seminal contributions to the polity and as FM of India . As Leader of Opposition he was without match . He always stood steadfastly for his friends and for his party "

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, in her tribute, wrote, "Extremely saddened at the passing away of Arun Jaitley Ji, after a battle bravely borne. An outstanding Parliamentarian & a brilliant lawyer, appreciated across parties. His contribution to Indian polity will be remembered. My condolences to his wife, children, friends & admirers."

Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor wrote that Arun Jaitley's death is a great loss for India.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said he will miss discussions on cricket.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, in a series of tweets, paid a heartfelt tribute to the inspiring leader.

Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said Arun Jaitley was a great man.

“This is not just the loss of BJP, it is the loss for the entire country and the entire world. He devoted his life for the service of the country," he said.

Arun Jaitley had been an important part in the BJP government's first term. He held the finance and defence portfolios, and often acted as the chief troubleshooter of the government.

As Finance Minister in the first term of the Modi government, Arun Jaitley oversaw implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST), a major tax reform that had huge electoral implications. The decision of demonetisation was also taken by the Modi government while he presided over the ministry.

Mr Jaitley did not contest the 2019 Lok Sabha election because of his ill-health. 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.

Mr Jaitley, who had stopped attending office since early April last year, was back in the finance ministry on August 23, 2018.

In September 2014, he underwent bariatric surgery to correct the weight he had gained because of a long-standing diabetic condition.

Arun Jaitley held various ministries including Law, Justice, and Company Affairs and Minister of Commerce and Industry in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition government (1999-2004).

He became a member of Rajya Sabha in 2000 and re-elected in 2006, 2012 and 2018. He was appointed as a general secretary after NDA lost power in the 2004 elections.

Mr Jaitley was also passionate about cricket and headed Delhi's cricket body.