New Delhi: Former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will be cremated with full state honours at the Nigambodh Ghat on Sunday afternoon. Jaitley, the chief troubleshooter of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) died of multiple organ failure at All India Institute of Medical Sciences at 12:07 PM on Saturday, two weeks after he was admitted following complaints of breathlessness. He was 66.
According to the reports, the cremation will take place at 4 PM today. Before the last rites at Nigambodh Ghat, his body will be shifted to the BJP headquarters at 10 AM for people to pay their tributes.
Jaitley had been admitted to the AIIMS on August 9 after he complained of breathlessness. His condition had steadily deteriorated, following which he was put on life support. On Thursday, the former Union Mininster underwent dialysis.
“It is with profound grief that we inform about the sad demise of Shri Arun Jaitley, Hon’ble Member of Parliament & Former Finance Minister, Government of India at 12:07 pm on 24th 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,” the hospital said in a brief statement.
Haryana, Uttarakhand announce state mourning
While Haryana Government announced a two-day state mourning, the Trivendra Singh-led government in Uttarakhand announced one-day state mourning in honour of the late former Union Finance Minister.
“The National Flag will fly at half-mast from August 24-25, (both days inclusive) in the state on all the buildings where it is flown regularly and there would be no official entertainment on these days,” stated a circular from the Chief Secretary Office.
Besides, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar also suspended his ongoing Jan Ashirwad Yatra on August 25 and postponed it to August 26 due to the demise of Jaitley.
“Due to the demise of senior BJP leader Shri Arun Jaitley, postponed his #JanAashirwadYatra Yatra starting from Bahalgarh (Sonipat) on 25 August 2019. Now this journey will start on 26th August 2019 as per predetermined schedule,” Khattar tweeted.
PM Modi remembers ‘valued friend’
Expressing grief over the demise of the former Finance Minister, PM Modi said,”Full of life, blessed with wit, a great sense of humour and charisma, Arun Jaitley Ji was admired by people across all sections of society. He was multi-faceted, having impeccable knowledge about India’s Constitution, history, public policy, governance and administration.”
“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,” he stated further.
Referring to Jaitley’s relationship with the ruling party, PM Modi added,“BJP and Arun Jaitley Ji had an unbreakable bond. As a fiery student leader, he was at forefront of protecting our democracy during the Emergency. He became a much liked face of our Party, who could articulate the Party programmes and ideology to a wide spectrum of society.”
“With the demise of Arun Jaitley Ji, I have lost a valued friend, whom I have had the honour of knowing for decades. His insight on issues and nuanced understanding of matters had very few parallels. He lived well, leaving us all with innumerable happy memories. We will miss him!,” he tweeted.
‘He worked to boost Indo-US trade ties’
The United States Embassy in New Delhi said that Jaitley will be remembered for the introduction of GST, efforts to improve ease of doing business, and measures to combat corruption.
In a statement, the US Embassy said that Jaitley, who died on Saturday aged 66, recognised the value of India-US relations and worked to boost economic ties. “The United States Mission in India grieves with the people of India on the loss of former Minister Arun Jaitley. He will be remembered for his long and distinguished service to India. Especially notable were his introduction of the Goods and Services Tax, efforts to improve the ease of doing business, and measures to combat corruption,” the statement read.
“Minister Jaitley recognized the importance of the US-India relationship and worked to improve the economic ties between our countries. The US Mission in India extends our deepest condolences to former Minister Jaitley’s family and many friends, as well as to all the citizens of India,” it added.
Condolences pour in
Leaders across the party lines paid tribute to the former Finance Minister by visiting his residence. Following Arun Jaitley’s passing, Amit Shah cut short his visit to Hyderabad, and returned to Delhi.
BJP Patriarch LK Advani Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia paid homage to the former minister at his home, in south Delhi’s Kailash Colony area.
Besides, Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Ghulam Nabi Azad also paid their last respects to Jaitley at his residence.
“The nation has lost a great leader and a friend,” Anand Sharma said.
Quoting Arun Jaitley as a “quintessential gentleman”, Sunil Arora, chief election commissioner, said his sheer range of his thoughts and vision was amazing.
“This coupled with his formidable legal acumen and brilliant oratory made him one of the most outstanding Parliamentarians of all time. The last three to four months especially even when life was ebbing out of him, he kept on enriching the national discourse through his blogs etc. May his soul rest in peace,” Arora said.
Calling him a benevolent man, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said,”Be it taking action against black money or realizing the dream of GST, or about demonetisation or giving relief to the common man, in his every decision lay the welfare of our country. Nation will always remember him as this benevolent man who always meant good for the people.”
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao recalled the services rendered by Jaitley to the nation. Rao prayed that the former Finance Minister’s soul may rest in peace and conveyed his condolences to the members of the bereaved family.
Cricketing fraternity shows respect
The cricketing fraternity too was saddened by the demise of Jaitley. The Indian cricket team wore black armbands Vs West Indies in the ongoing first Test, as a mark of respect for former union minister.
Notably, Jaitley had served Indian cricket as BCCI Vice-President and President of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA). It was during his time as the DDCA president that the state team saw the emergence of stalwarts like Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and in later years Ishant Sharma, Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan.
BCCI treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry said that Jaitley’s sudden demise was a personal loss for him – having worked closely with the former BCCI Vice-President over the years. The Ambassadors of the US, France, China and Germany also condoled Jaitley’s death.