Arun Jaitley To Be Cremated Today, Leaders Pay Last Respects

Hundreds of leaders paid their tributes to Arun Jaitley. (File)

New Delhi:

Arun Jaitley, former Finance Minister and BJP veteran who died on Saturday, will be cremated this afternoon with state honours.

The seasoned BJP leader died at 12:07 pm on Saturday at Delhi's AIIMS, two weeks after he was admitted following complaints of breathlessness. "It is with profound grief that we inform about the sad demise of Shri Arun Jaitley… Shri Arun Jaitley was admitted in AIIMS, New Delhi on 09/08/2019 and was treated by a multidisciplinary team of senior doctors," said AIIMS in a brief statement.

Hundreds of leaders from across political spectrum visited his south Delhi home last evening to pay their last respects.

His body will be kept at the BJP headquarters in Delhi today between 10:30 am and 1 pm where party workers and leaders will pay tributes.

The last rites will take place at the Nigambodh Ghat at 2:30 pm, the BJP said in a tweet.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was in Bahrain on Saturday, turned emotional at an event as he remembered his "friend", Arun Jaitley. "I can't imagine that I am so far here while my friend has gone away. Some days ago, we lost our former External Affairs Minister Behen Sushma Ji. Today I have lost my friend Arun," he added.

He spoke to Mr Jaitley's family on Saturday to give his condolences. Mr Jaitley's family told the Prime Minister not to cut short his important engagements abroad, news agency ANI reported.

Mr Jaitley, a lawyer by profession, had been an important part in PM Modi's cabinet in the BJP government's first term. He held the finance and defence portfolios, and often acted as the chief troubleshooter of the government. During his tenure as finance minister, he led the enactment of a bankruptcy code and the Goods and Services Tax or GST.

Mr Jaitley's health issues became worse after he had a kidney transplant in May last year. He did not contest the 2019 Lok Sabha election presumably because of his ill-health.

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