Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid heartfelt tributes to late Union Minister Arun Jaitley during a "Shradhanjali Sabha" event at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium today, describing his life as one that everybody can draw inspiration from.
PM Modi said that while Mr Jaitley was a stalwart blessed with much talent, he was also a "close friend" whose presence is sorely missed. "It is unfortunate that I should have to pay tributes to a great friend who died despite being younger than me. Everyone among us has lost something with his death. We should learn from the way he used his talent to solve the problems of society, because that's the best homage we can pay him," he added.
"Jaitleyji had health ailments but if you spoke to him, you could see that he was more concerned about the nation. Serving the nation energised him," he said, adding that the former Union Minister used to add "tremendous value" to everything he touched.
"We will all treasure our memories of Jaitleyji. His life inspires us to work harder for the nation," PM Modi said at the event, which was attended by top ministers and party leaders. "The praises he received after his death stands testament to his towering personality. We have lost a very unique and talented person."
The Prime Minister said that Mr Jaitley's treasury of knowledge made him a veritable encyclopaedia. "I will always feel a sense of loss because he was an encyclopaedia on Indian history and administration. Many a time, it was his knowledge that guided us towards our final decision," he added.
The 66-year-old died at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences on August 24. He was cremated with full state honours at the Nigambodh Ghat in New Delhi the next day.
(With inputs from Agencies)