Former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley No More

Bhubaneswar: Former Finance Minister and one of BJP’s frontline leaders Arun Jaitley breathed his last on Saturday morning. He was 66.

“It is with profound grief that we inform about the sad demise of Former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Member of Parliament (MP) at 12:07 p.m. on Saturday. Jaitley was admitted in AIIMS, New Delhi on August 9 and was treated by a multi-disciplinary team of senior doctors,” said Aarti Vij, Chairperson, Media and Protocol, AIIMS. 

Jaitley was admitted to AIIMS on 9 August following complaints of breathlessness and uneasiness. He was being treated at the intensive care unit of the cardiothoracic and neurosciences centre of the premier medical institute.

A committee of doctors headed by Dr VK Bahl, head of the cardiology department, AIIMS, were treating Jaitely. Other doctors involved in Jaitley’s treatment included Dr Nikhil Tandon from the endocrinology department, Dr Sandeep Mahajan from the nephrology department, Dr Karan Madan from pulmonary medicine and Dr Samir Bakshi from the medical oncology department of AIIMS.

In September 2014, Jaitley underwent bariatric surgery to correct weight he had gained because of a long-standing diabetic condition. In May 2018, he underwent a renal transplant at AIIMS. He also was treated in the US in January for soft tissue cancer.

Jaitley opted out of public office in the second term of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government for health reasons. Before Cabinet formation, he had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he would not like to be part of the Cabinet because of health challenges, but had offered to undertake informal work for the government and the BJP.

One of the prominent leaders of Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP), Jaitley was the Finance Minister & Minister of Corporate Affairs in the Government of India. He also served as a member to the Board of Governors of Asian Development Bank.

He was a senior advocate in the Supreme Court and a former Additional Solicitor General of India. Jaitley served as the General Secretary of the BJP in 2002 and then again in 2004. He resigned from the post of General Secretary in 2009 after he was appointed as the leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha under the party principle of “One Man, One Post”.

Jaitley has always emerged as a strategic planner of the BJP, helping his party member Narendra Modi win the assembly election in 2002. As the General Secretary, he managed eight assembly elections, which proved victorious for the BJP. He was re-elected to the Rajya Sabha in April 2012 for his third term. He was the Vice President of the BCCI.

Arun Jaitley was born to a family of lawyers, social activists and philanthropists. His father, Maharaj Kishen Jaitley, was also a lawyer and they as a family resided in Naraina Vihar, New Delhi. His mother, Ratan Prabha, was a housewife and a social activist at the same time.

Arun Jaitley did his schooling from the St. Xavier’s School (1957-69). He was very passionate about studies, debates, and sports such as cricket. He is a graduate from the Shree Ram College of Commerce and was an active debater and President of the student union of the college. Later, he did LL.B. from the University of Delhi (1973-77).

He served in a variety of ministerial posts in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition government (1999–2004), including minister of Law, Justice, and Company Affairs and minister of Commerce and Industry. After the NDA lost power in the 2004 elections, Jaitley was appointed as the BJP’s general secretary.

Jaitley unsuccessfully ran for a seat from Punjab state in the 2014 elections to the Lok Sabha (lower chamber of the Indian parliament). Nonetheless, following the overwhelming BJP landslide victory at the polls, Jaitley was given responsibility for three important portfolios in Prime Minister Modi’s cabinet: defense, finance, and corporate affairs.