- Arun Jaitley is in US for medical check-up, news agency Reuters reported
- He is expected to be back by the weekend, Finance Ministry sources said
- Rahul Gandhi, Omar Abdullah and others tweeted good wishes for him
Reports that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is unwell and is abroad for treatment - just days before he is to present the Budget -- had leaders across the political spectrum rooting for his quick recovery on Wednesday. The 66-year-old is in the US for a "regular medical check-up" following a kidney transplant last year, news agency Reuters reported on Tuesday quoting "two people with direct knowledge of the matter".
Congress president Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet that he was "upset" to hear about the minister's poor health. "I'm upset to hear Arun Jaitley Ji is not well. We fight him on a daily basis for his ideas. However, I and the Congress party send him our love and best wishes for a speedy recovery. We are with you and your family 100% during this difficult period Mr Jaitley," Mr Gandhi said.
I'm upset to hear Arun Jaitley Ji is not well. We fight him on a daily basis for his ideas. However, I and the Congress party send him our love and best wishes for a speedy recovery. We are with you and your family 100% during this difficult period Mr Jaitley.- Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) January 16, 2019
Finance Ministry sources said the minister "is expected to be back by the weekend" and no one else would be given charge of the ministry for now. Questions have been raised because the Budget - it will be an interim budget with the national election ahead - is scheduled for February 1.
Power Minister Piyush Goyal, who was given additional charge of the finance ministry while Mr Jaitley was on a three-month hiatus for his kidney surgery, avoided a response on Wednesday when NDTV asked him who would present the interim budget.
Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is the only BJP leader to have wished the finance minister on Twitter. He wished a speedy recovery of "big brother" Arun Jaitley and called the news of his ill health "worrisome".
Others who posted messages for Mr Jaitley were former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah, Congress leader Salman Khurshid and Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav.
Concerned to hear of FM Arun Jaitley being indisposed once again. He has been important communicator and interlocutor with the Opposition despite recent constraints. Pray for quick and full recovery to serve the nation.- Salman Khurshid (@salman7khurshid) January 16, 2019
Even on Tuesday, before reports of his US visit emerged, Mr Jaitley had put out a Facebook post criticizing opposition moves to form a coalition against the ruling BJP and said that an "unworkable alliance with maverick leadership whose longevity is a suspect" cannot lead the country to economic growth like a government with a "clear mandate as in 2014".
After Mr Jaitley returned to his ministry in August, he had limited public interaction for weeks in order to ward off any infection.