The nation is mourning the demise of former Finance Minister and senior BJP stalwart Arun Jaitley who passed away at the age of 66 on Saturday at Delhi's AIIMS hospital after a prolonged illness. Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad paid his condolences to his colleague and friend. He regarded Arun Jaitley as an able Minister and termed his demise as a personal loss. Ravi Shankar Prasad paid tribute to Arun Jaitley and said it is a deeply emotional moment for him. He also spoke about working with him during the freedom movement as a student and called it a 'personal privilege' to have worked with him throughout his life. Ravi Shankar Prasad termed the former Finance Minister a towering leader with an extraordinary record of governance and said that he was a powerful image of India. The Law Minister added that Arun Jaitley played a big role in making him what he is today.
"He was a big lawyer, Parliamentarian and an able Minister. He was a senior leader of our party. We are very sad. I hope God blesses his soul. It is a personal loss. What can I say. I pay my tributes. It is a deeply emotional moment personally. I am personally privileged to have worked with him through my life. JP Movement, anti-emergency struggle, party and Vajpayee government, Modi government, a towering leader, a great intellectual, and extraordinary record of governance, a profound parliamentarian, a fluent speaker and an above all - a powerful image of India which he conveyed globally. In making me what I am today, he played a very big role. It is a deep loss for party, country and for me," Ravi Shankar Prasad said paying tribute to the former Law Minister.
Ravi Shankar Prasad has also taken to Twitter and condoled the demise of Arun Jaitley who he regarded as his en elder brother. The Union Minister said that he had worked with him since his student life for more 45 years and termed his intellect, leadership and eloquence "truly extraordinary".
PM Narendra Modi took to Twitter and paid his tributes to the former Finance Minister. The Prime Minister termed the loss as a 'personal one' and said that he spoke to Arun Jaitley's wife and son, expressing his condolences. He regarded Arun Jaitley as a 'political giant', and said that he was an articulate leader who made immense contributions to the country. PM Modi hailed the former Finance Minister as a tall leader and an intellectual.
Born in Delhi on December 28, 1952, Arun Jaitley studied at the St Xavier's school and went on to graduate with a degree in commerce from the Shri Ram College of Commerce in 1973, and went on to pursue an LLB at the Faculty of Law, University of Delhi. At that time, he is also said to have considered becoming a Chartered Accountant. Active in politics since his time as a student, Jaitley was a member of the ABVP, and served as the President of the Delhi University Students Union in 1974. Like a number of his contemporaries in the BJP, Jaitley was put under preventive custody for fighting the Emergency as part of the JP movement, the clampdown on him lasting 19 months. He rose to become the president of the Delhi ABVP and its All India Secretary, He became the president of the youth wing of the Jan Sangh which he had joined later.
Parallel to his political commitments, Jaitley also practiced law, before the Supreme Court and numerous High Courts. He was appointed ASG in the VP Singh government in 1989, and has also appeared in several corporate matters. He stopped practicing law only in June 2009 on becoming leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha. In the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government, he had served as the minister for Law and Justice.
He is best known for having served as the Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs in the first Narendra Modi government, having also held portfolios of Defence and Information and Broadcasting. It was Jaitley who rolled out the GST in 2017 which saw India becoming a unified market for goods and services for the first time, and was also the first chairman of the GST council, being widely credited for forging consensus leading to the Constitutional amendment that eventually passed the GST Bill.
Jaitley opted out of the second Narendra Modi government, having gone to the US for two spells of treatment for a medical ailment in 2018-19. He has, however, regularly taken to Facebook and Twitter to pen blogs on various significant issues in the country.