Prime Minister Narendra Modi described former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley as an 'encyclopedia' on India’s parliamentary history and government procedures on Tuesday. He was addressing the audience on the occasion of the 'Shradhanjali' programme organized by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Jaitley's remembrance at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi. Jaitley's family members, senior BJP leaders, Union Cabinet Ministers and leaders belonging to various political parties were present. Veteran politicians like Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, D Raja, Sharad Pawar, Ram Vilas Paswan, and Sukhbir Badal also spoke at the condolence meeting.
PM Modi remarked that he always experienced a void in the cabinet as well. He reckoned that Jaitley was extremely knowledgeable. The PM recalled that whenever any proposal came in front of the Cabinet, Jaitley would easily tell the context and background of a particular issue. He stressed that it was very essential to have a memory of old events in order to take correct decisions. According to him, Arun Jaitley was a precious jewel in India’s public life. Emphasizing that he was a multi-faceted personality, PM Modi revealed that he was famous for his one-liners. The PM also spoke about Jaitley's closeness to the media.
The Media and Protocol Division of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) issued a press release confirming the demise of Jaitley on August 24. The release stated that he passed away at 12:07 pm. He was initially admitted in AIIMS on August 8 and was under observation of a multi-disciplinary team of senior doctors. In his last few weeks, Jaitley saw a flurry of visitors, ranging from PM Narendra Modi to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. He was cremated with full state honours at the Nigambhod Ghat in New Delhi on August 25.
Known as the perennial troubleshooter of the BJP, he started his journey from the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). He was jailed during the period of Emergency, imposed by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Subsequently, he became the legal face of the party. The Atal Bihari Vajpayee tenure also witnessed his induction as a Minister holding Independent charge of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Disinvestment. Jaitley also handled portfolios such as Shipping and Law, Justice and Company Affairs. In 2002, he resigned to work for the party organization. Subsequently, he functioned as the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha from 2009 onwards.
Since the victory of the BJP in the 2014 General Elections, Jaitley was PM Modi’s go-to man. He was immediately handed over the reins of the Finance Ministry, along with additional charge of the Defense Ministry. While he was eventually relieved of the latter, he continued to be the Finance Minister until the last few months. At that juncture, Piyush Goyal was allocated the Finance portfolio due to Jaitley’s ill health. He was not seen in public since the formation of the government in 2019 and opted out of the new Cabinet.