Former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley passes away at 66

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New Delhi:Arun Jaitley, the former finance minister and a stalwart of the Bharatiya Janata Party, has died. He was 66.

Arun Jaitley was unwell for a large part of the last two years. In 2018, Arun Jaitley underwent a kidney transplant surgery, following which he was put under isolation. Four years earlier, in 2014, Arun Jaitley underwent a bariatric surgery to address the excess weight he had gained due to diabetes.

During the Narendra Modi government’s first term in office, Arun Jaitley was seen as the prime minister’s ‘go-to’ man. Jaitley was the one to take on the responsibilities of temporarily handling ministries other than his primary portfolio of finance.

As finance minister, Arun Jaitley presented all of the Narendra Modi government 1.0’s budgets. However, due to his ill health, he was unable to present the 2019 Interim Budget, which was instead presented by his colleague Piyush Goyal.

After the Bharatiya Janata Party’s victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, Arun Jaitley wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting that he not be given any responsibilities in the new government as he wanted to focus on his health.

A lawyer by profession, Arun Jaitley was among the leaders who were jailed by the Indira Gandhi government during the Emergency. He was a student leader at the time.

After being released from jail, Arun Jaitley joined active politics as a member of the Jan Sangh and rose through the ranks of the organisation, which later became the BJP.

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