New Delhi: Former Union finance minister Arun Jaitley passed away at the AIIMS hospital in New Delhi on Saturday 24th August. Jaitley was admitted to the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) on August 9th after complaining of breathlessness and increased heart palpitations. Jaitley is survived by his wife Sangeeta and two children Rohan and Sonali. Jaitley had decided to stay away from the political corridors after being diagnosed with kidney ailments. Due to his health problems, he did not contest the Lok Sabha elections this year. After the Modi government returned to power for a second term, Jaitley had written to the Prime Minister saying he would like to stay away from all the political responsibilities.
With his multi-faceted experience and acumen, Jaitley was the man for the Modi government in its first term from 2014 to 2019. Be it showcasing the government’s achievements or defending controversial policies or launching a fierce attack on the Congress or framing the 2019 election as a contest between stability and chaos, few could have been more effective.
To the nation, he explained the global context of rising fuel prices, articulated a complex Rafale fighter jet deal in simple terms and steered through Parliament major economic legislation such as the nationwide Goods and Services Tax, which had languished for nearly two decades.
From being the BJP government’s key political strategist to managing the crucial finance portfolio, Jaitley wore many hats while pursuing his more material interests such as collecting expensive pens, watches, and luxury cars. However, his stint in the Modi-1.0 government was affected by his frequent bouts of ill health that even led him to take a short sabbatical. Last year, he took a three-month break to undergo a kidney transplant and this year he was forced to travel to the US for treatment, depriving him of the opportunity to present the sixth and final Budget of the Modi government’s first term.
Within his short 66 years life span, Jaitley achieved a lot and became a mentor and role model for many. With his passing, India has lost a precious gem.
Bureau News, Kokan Now, New Delhi.