Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday offered his condolences after the death of former Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Modi described the Bharatiya Janata Party leader as “a political giant, towering intellectual and legal luminary”.
“He was an articulate leader who made a lasting contribution to India,” Modi said. “His passing away is very saddening. Spoke to his wife Sangeeta Ji as well as son Rohan, and expressed condolences. Om Shanti.”
President Ram Nath Kovind said that Jaitley had the unique ability to carry out the “most onerous responsibilities with poise, passion and studied understanding”. “His passing leaves a huge void in our public life and our intellectual ecosystem,” Kovind said. “Condolences to his family and associates.” Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi expressed his condolence. “I am personally, deeply saddened by passing away of Arun Jaitley,” he told PTI.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah said he was deeply saddened by Arun Jaitley’s death. “His death is a personal loss for me. I have not just lost a senior party colleague but also a member of my family, who guided me for several years,” Shah tweeted.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh called Jaitley “an asset to the government and the party organisation”. “He always had a deep and clear understanding of the issues of the day,” Singh said. “His knowledge and articulation won him several friends.”
Party veteran LK Advani remembered Jaitley as a man with a deeply analytical mind. “…Everyone in the BJP always depended on him for finding solutions to complex issues,” said Advani. He added that Jaitley’s death was a huge loss not only for the BJP and the Sangh Parivar, but also to the nation. “[It is a] personal loss that has left a huge void,” he said.
Bharatiya Janata Party Spokesperson Baijayant Jay Panda said the former finance minister was a “titan of our times”. “Like many, many others, I was privileged to have been mentored by him,” Panda said. “I learned enormously from him and deeply admired his ethical leadership style.”
“A stalwart who paid tribute to his simple beginnings by helping those with meagre means,” tweeted Union Minister Smriti Irani. “Orator par excellence, legal luminary Arun Jaitleyji served the Nation and sangathan [organisation] with dedication and zeal. My tributes to him. Condolences to loved ones.”
Union minister Prakash Javadekar said the BJP has lost one of its diamonds. “An orator par excellence, he was a master of articulation,” said Javadekar. “We’ve lost many leaders in 1 year, Atal ji, Ananth Kumar, Manohar Parrikar, Sushma Swaraj & now Arun Jaitley. We deeply mourn his death.”
Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said that Jaitley had worked hard to bring about a “significant change in economic reform of the country” as finance minister. “It is an insurmountable loss to the country. May his soul rest in peace,” he said.
Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma called Jaitley a “great administrator and wonderful human being”.
Congress and Opposition
The Congress also offered condolences to the BJP leader’s family and said that “thoughts and prayers are with them in this time of grief”.
Sonia Gandhi said Jaitley’s contributions to public life will be remembered forever. Former President Pranab Mukherjee said Jaitley was “a leader with deep intellect and knowledge, and a voice of reason”.
Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said the BJP owes Jaitley for being what it is today. “We have lost someone whom the nation needed for many years,” he added. Jairam Ramesh said Jaitley was “every non-BJP person’s favourite BJP-ite”. He said Jaitley had a great sense of humour and repartee.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot offered his condolences to Jaitley’s family members. “Deeply saddened to know of untimely demise of former Union minister and senior BJP leader, Shri Arun Jaitley,” he said. “May God give them [Jaitley’s family] strength. May his soul rest in peace.” The state’s deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot said that it was a “sad day” and a “great loss for India as Jaitley Ji‘s contributions have been many”.
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor lamented the passing of the former finance minister and said that he was also his friend and a senior in Delhi University. “We first met when he was at Delhi University Student Union and I was President of St Stephen’s College Union,” Tharoor tweeted. “Despite political differences we enjoyed a healthy mutual respect and debated his Budget often in Lok Sabha. A great loss for India.”
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said Jaitley died “after a battle bravely borne”. “An outstanding Parliamentarian and a brilliant lawyer, appreciated across parties. His contribution to Indian polity will be remembered,” she said.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy said that the BJP leader had made notable contributions to the country in his four-decade-long political career. “Sorry to hear about the demise of Arun Jaitley ji, an articulate, intellect and affable leader,” Reddy said.
Congress leader Milind Deora expressed sadness on Jaitley’s demise and said that he had been a “brilliant lawyer, parliamentarian and a loyal friend”.
“Untimely demise of former Finance Minister and senior leader Sh Arun Jaitleyji is a huge loss to the nation, tweeted Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. “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.” Nationalist Congress Party leader Supriya Sule said her condolences and prayers were with Jaitley’s family.
‘So generous to his team’
Among non-politicians, Supreme Court lawyer Karuna Nundy said that Jaitley supported lawyers across the political spectrum and recalled an incident. “He was so generous to his team that a staff member’s child went abroad to study with Mr Jaitley’s support while his own child chose to go to a Delhi college. Rest in Peace,” she tweeted.
Badminton Player Jwala Gutta offered her condolences to the BJP leader’s family and said that he would be remembered as “a great orator and a great leader who touched lives of many”.
Businessperson Kiran Mazumdar Shaw said that it was sad to see a “young and dynamic political leader’s life being cut short”.
US Embassy remembers Jaitley for recognising importance of ties
The United States Embassy released a statement to offer condolences for Jaitley’s demise, ANI reported.
“Minister Jaitley recognized the importance of US-India relationship and worked to improve economic ties between our countries,” the statement read. “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.”
The embassy said Jaitley 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,” it added.
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