Arun Jaitley, a former union minister and BJP veteran, died at Delhi's AIIMS hospital today, after a prolonged illness. He was 66. His death was announced by AIIMS in a statement: "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. Shri Arun Jaitley was admitted in AIIMS, New Delhi on 09/08/2019 and was treated by a multidisciplinary team of senior doctors."
Leaders from across the political spectrum offered the condolences. President Ram Nath Kovind, in his tribute to the former minister, said that his death has left a "huge void in our public life and our intellectual ecosystem".
Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Mr Jaitley a very "valuable friend" who was at the "forefront of protecting our democracy during the Emergency". In a series of tweets, the prime minister recalled his contribution towards the country. "During his long political career, Arun Jaitley Ji held multiple ministerial responsibilities, which enabled him to contribute towards India's economic growth, strengthening our defence capabilities, creating people friendly laws and enhancing trade with other nations," PM Modi tweeted.
Mr Jaitley was admitted to the hospital on August 9 following complaints of breathlessness and restlessness. He had been put on life support and was being monitored by a multidisciplinary team of doctors. Hospital sources had earlier said he was on life support. Mr Jaitley was also admitted to the AIIMS for treatment in May this year.
His health has remained a concern since he underwent a renal transplant last year. Mr Jaitley, who was finance minister in the government's previous term, skipped the interim budget in February when he was in the US for treatment.
After the BJP's victory in the national election, Mr Jaitley had written to PM Modi that he would "not be part of any responsibility, for the present, in the new government" because of his health.
Here are the highlights and tributes for Arun Jaitley:
Was privileged to work with Shri Arun Jaitley on major reforms like GST,IBC,Monetary Policy framework,FDI liberalisation, etc. The way he navigated these structural changes was unparalleled. Unruffled in most challenging situations. Will be remembered as a major reformer.- Shaktikanta Das (@DasShaktikanta) August 24, 2019
Saddened to hear about the demise of Shri Arun Jaitley. He donned several hats successfully, including that of a cricket administrator. India has lost a distinguished parliamentarian. My condolences to his family and friends.- Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) August 24, 2019
Arun Jaitley was every non-BJP person's favourite BJP-ite. Son-in-law of stalwart J&K Congressman, he was amongst the sharpest legal and political brains with a great sense of humour and repartee"
- "It is with much sadness that we have learned of the passing of Arun Jaitley. He was a great statesman and a strong proponent of the US-India relationship. May he rest in peace" -- Kenneth Juster, US Ambassador to India
- "Sad to learn that former Finance Minister #ArunJaitley has passed away. My heartfelt condolences to the deceased and his family." -- Sun Weidong, Chinese Ambassador to India
- "On behalf of France, I offer our heartfelt condolences to the family and loved ones of Arun Jaitley. As the nation mourns its former Finance Minister and one of Rajya Sabha's most prominent voices, France stands with India and its people in this time of deep grief" -- French Ambassador to India Alexandre Ziegler
- "Very saddened to hear about the demise of former Union Finance Minister #ArunJaitley; he was a great leader and an exponent of Indo-German relations. Our condolences to his family and loved ones" -- German Ambassador to India Walter J. Lindner
"I used to take his suggestions on various matters when I was BJP president. He was dedicated to the ideology of the party. His speeches in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha will be remembered by the people. His death is a loss to the entire nation, the government and the party
"I have seen him closely when he started as a student leader of the Vidyarthi Parishad. He was one of the top lawyers in the country who possessed natural argumentative skills"
- Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi Says With Arun Jaitley's Death India Lost "an eminent senior advocate" and "a tall leader"
- "I am personally, deeply saddened by the passing of Arun Jaitley," Chief Justice Of India told news agency PTI
- Justice Gogoi said on behalf of the country's judiciary, "I express my condolences to his family and pray for the noble soul to rest in peace"
I have learnt with profound sorrow about the sad and shocking news of the untimely demise of our beloved Shri Arun Jaitley. Shri Jaitley was an eminent lawyer, an excellent orator, a very good administrator and an outstanding Parliamentarian. In his death our country has lost a great Leader who always worked for the betterment of Society.
I take this opportunity to convey to you and other members of your family my heartfelt condolences on this bereavement. We pray to the Almighty to give all of you the strength to bear this great loss with courage and, fortitude.
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
Extremely shocked to hear about the passing away of former union Finance Minister & senior leader Sh. Arun Jaitley ji.- Manish Sisodia (@msisodia) August 24, 2019
I had known him since many years and always found him to be knowledgeable and sincere.
Will miss him. RIP sir
A father teaches u to speak but a father figure teaches u to talk. A father teaches u to walk but a father figure teaches u to march on. A father gives u a name but a father figure gives u an identity. A part of me is gone with my Father Figure Shri Arun Jaitley Ji. RIP Sir.- Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) August 24, 2019
Shri Arun Jaitley possessed a unique ability of discharging the most onerous responsibility with poise, passion and studied understanding.- President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) August 24, 2019
His passing leaves a huge void in our public life and our intellectual ecosystem. Condolences to his family and associates #PresidentKovind