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Across party lines, condolences pour in after Arun Jaitley's demise

Jaitley had friends across the political spectrum and was one of the articulate, moderate and influential leaders in the BJP who brought civility to public discourse

By The Telegraph and PTI in New Delhi
  • Published 24.08.19, 2:33 PM
  • Updated 24.08.19, 2:33 PM
  • 2 mins read
  •  
Arun Jaitley at a news conference at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi on March 27, 2019. PTI file photo

Suave and articulate, Arun Jaitley was informally called the "scholar minister" in political circles.

His death at the age of 66 was announced this afternoon by AIIMS where he was admitted on August 9.

BJP and Opposition leaders morurned the death of the former finance minister who they knew to be a consensus builder across party lines.

A moderate, Jaitley had friends across the political spectrum and was one of the articulate, moderate and influential leaders in the BJP who brought civility to public discourse, irrespective of whether one agreed with his position or not.

On hearing about Jaitley's demise, Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday cancelled his visit to Nellore in Andhra Pradesh and is scheduled to rush to Delhi. He described Jaitley as "a long-time dear friend and one of my closest associates". "His death is an irreparable loss to the nation and a personal loss to me. I have no words to express my grief," he said.

President Ram Nath Kovind called Jaitley a "brilliant lawyer, a seasoned parliamentarian, and a distinguished Minister" who contributed "immensely to nation building".

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal said Jaitey's death was a "big loss" for the country, his party and the legal fraternity. Jaitley was the brain behind managing difficult situations faced by the BJP, Venugopal said, and he had lost a "friend".

Defence minister Rajnath Singh said: "Jaitleyji will always be remembered for pulling the economy out of the gloom and putting it back on the right track. The BJP will miss Arunji's presence. I extend my heartfelt condolences to his bereaved family."

The Congress said, "We are deeply saddened to hear the passing of Shri Arun Jaitley. Our condolences to his family. Our thoughts and prayers are with them in this time of grief."

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal called Jaitley's demise a huge loss for the nation. "A legal luminary and an experienced political leader known for his governance skills will be missed by the country. Thoughts and prayers with his family in this moment of grief. RIP," he wrote.

Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said she was "extremely saddened". She said he had "bravely" battled for life, was "An outstanding Parliamentarian & a brilliant lawyer, appreciated across parties. His contribution to Indian polity will be remembered. My condolences to his wife, children, friends & admirers."