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.
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!— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 24, 2019
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.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 24, 2019
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.
Arun Jaitley ji served the nation in several capacities and he was an asset to the government and the party organisation.— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) August 24, 2019
He always had a deep and clear understanding of the issues of the day. His knowledge and articulation won him several friends.
"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.
काले धन पर कार्यवाही की बात हो, एक देश-एक कर ‘जीएसटी' के स्वप्न को साकार करने की बात हो, विमुद्रीकरण की बात हो या आम आदमी को राहत पहुंचाने की बात, उनके हर निर्णय में देश और देश की जनता का कल्याण निहित था।— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) August 24, 2019
देश उन्हें उनके अत्यंत सरल एवं संवेदनशील व्यक्तित्व के लिए सदैव याद रखेगा।
Congress President Sonia Gandhi, in her condolence message for Arun Jaitley, said that his contributions will be forever remembered.
Congress President Smt. Sonia Gandhi shares a condolence message for Shri Arun Jaitley. pic.twitter.com/19sEA2900u— Congress (@INCIndia) August 24, 2019
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.
No words can describe the loss of Shri @arunjaitley. 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.— Nirmala Sitharaman (@nsitharaman) August 24, 2019
"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.
A stalwart who paid tribute to his simple beginnings by helping those with meagre means . Orator par excellence, legal luminary @arunjaitley ji served the Nation and sangathan with dedication and zeal. My tributes to him. Condolences to loved ones. Om Shanti.— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) August 24, 2019
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"
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— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) August 24, 2019
"Will always miss him," Union Minister Nitin Gadkari tweeted.
निशब्द हूं, अरुण जी को मेरी भावभीनी श्रद्धांजलि। देश को उनकी कमी हमेशा खलेगी। राज्यसभा में पक्ष और विपक्ष में रहते उनके दिए भाषण हमेशा चिरन्तन रहेंगे।— Nitin Gadkari (@nitin_gadkari) August 24, 2019
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 "
Together in cricket. pic.twitter.com/BYJpakfPk6— Kapil Sibal (@KapilSibal) August 24, 2019
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."
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— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) August 24, 2019
Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor wrote that Arun Jaitley's death is a great loss for India.
Deeply saddened by the tragic passing of my friend&DelhiUniv senior @arunjaitley. We first met when he was at DUSU& I was President of StStephen'sCollegeUnion. Despite political differences we enjoyed a healthy mutual respect&debated his Budget often in LS. A great loss4India pic.twitter.com/RzxO1V6NTV— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) August 24, 2019
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said he will miss discussions on cricket.
Deeply grieved at the passing away of Shri Arun Jaitley ji. A towering political figure who influenced an entire generation.— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) August 24, 2019
Will miss our discussions, on politics as much as cricket.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, in a series of tweets, paid a heartfelt tribute to the inspiring leader.
His contribution for rolling out of GST was immense and this herculean couldn't be done without a leader like Jaitley ji.— Devendra Fadnavis (@Dev_Fadnavis) August 24, 2019
My Heartfelt tributes..
You will keep inspiring us for ever !
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.