New Delhi: Political leaders across the party lines bid teary tribute to former Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley as he was cremated with full state honours at 3:15 pm at Nigambodh Ghat in the national capital. The former minister’s last rites were performed by his son Rohan with Vedic Hindu rituals. Jaitley, who was considered the chief troubleshooter of the ruling party passed away on Saturday following a prolonged illness. He was 66.
The cremation was attended by Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, Rajnath Singh, Prakash Javdekar, Smriti Irani, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia. Also present were BJP veteran LK Advani as well as other party leaders including BS Yediyurappa, Gautam Gambhir, along with opposition leaders Sharad Pawar.
Earlier in the day, Jaitley’s body wrapped in the national flag was brought to the BJP headquarters located on the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Marg so that people could pay last respects to one of the tallest leaders of the country.
Outside the party office, people chanted “Jab tak suraj chand rahega Jaitley tera naam rahega” (Your name will endure as long as the Sun and the Moon exist)” and ‘Jaitley ji amar rahe’ (Long live Jaitley).
On Saturday, Jaitley’s body was kept at his Kailash Colony residence where President Ram Nath Kovind, BJP chief Amit Shah and several leaders across the political spectrum offered him floral tributes. Remembering the former minister, Shah credited him for the successful implementation of the GST and demonetisation, and taking the Jan Dhan Yojana to the masses.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing the Indian diaspora in Bahrain, got emotional and said,”I cannot imagine that I am so far away, and my friend has gone away. With deep pain, and sorrow. This August month! Some days ago our former foreign minister Bahen Sushmaji left us. Today my friend Arun has left us. It is a moment of dilemma, on one side I am bound by the sense of responsibility, and on the other a tale of friendship that is full of emotions…
“Today from the soil of Bahrain I offer shradhanjali (tribue) to my brother Arun, and to his family I pray that God give them strength in this moment of sorrow,” he added.