Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to give him any responsibility in the new Cabinet for the present because of his ill health.
Jaitley said he has faced some “serious health challenges” in the last 18 months. “After the campaign had concluded and you were leaving for Kedarnath, I had orally informed you that even though I was able to discharge the responsibilities assigned to me during the campaign, I would in future, for some time, like to keep away from any responsibility,” he wrote in a letter to the prime minister. “This will enable me to concentrate on my treatment and health.”
Jaitley said the letter was a formal request to the prime minister to relieve him of any responsibility. Calling his role in the government – as finance and defence minister – during Modi’s first term “a great honour and a learning experience”, Jaitley added that he will be available to undertake any work informally to support the government and the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The BJP won a landslide victory in the Lok Sabha polls, securing 303 seats out of 542. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance won 352 seats. Jaitley praised Modi for the victory. “The BJP and the NDA, under your leadership, have secured a spectacular win,” he said. “The new government would be sworn in tomorrow.”
Last week, there were media reports about Jaitley’s poor health and rumours about him flying abroad for treatment. However, on May 27, the government called the rumours baseless, IANS reported. “Reports in a section of the media regarding Union Minister Arun Jaitley’s health condition are false and baseless,” the government’s spokesperson, Sitanshu Kar, had said. “Media is advised to stay clear of rumour mongering.”