Arun Jaitley's Final Journey After Thousands Pay Last Respects
- Leaders across parties paid their last respects to Arun Jaitley
- The former finance minister died at Delhi's AIIMS on Saturday afternoon
- President, Amit Shah, Sonia Gandhi among those who paid last respects
Arun Jaitley, former Finance Minister and BJP veteran who died on Saturday, will be cremated with state honours this afternoon. BJP leaders paid their last respects at the party headquarters in Delhi.
His funeral procession - an eight-km journey from the BJP office to the Nigambodh Ghat on the banks of Yamuna river - is on. The last rites will take place at 2:30 pm.
BJP workers and mourners queued up outside the BJP office where Mr Jaitley's casket, wrapped in the national flag, was placed. Home Minister and BJP chief Amit Shah was among those who paid floral tributes at the party headquarters. Mr Jaitley's wife Sangeeta, daughter Sonali and son Rohan too were the BJP office. Supporters chanted "Jab tak suraj chand rahega Jaitley tera naam rahega" (Your name will endure as long as the sun and the moon exist)" and ''Jaitley ji amar rahe'' (May you be eternal).
The seasoned BJP leader died at 12:07 pm on Saturday at Delhi's AIIMS, two weeks after he was admitted following complaints of breathlessness. "It is with profound grief that we inform about the sad demise of Shri Arun Jaitley... Shri Arun Jaitley was admitted in AIIMS, New Delhi on 09/08/2019 and was treated by a multidisciplinary team of senior doctors," said AIIMS in a brief statement.
President Ram Nath Kovind and hundreds of leaders paid tributes to the BJP veteran last evening at his south Delhi home.
Visitors continued to pour in this morning. Senior Congress leader Motilal Vohra, NCP leaders Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel, RLD leader Ajit Singh and former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP leader N Chandrababu Naidu visited his home today.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was in Bahrain on Saturday, turned emotional at an event as he remembered his "friend", Arun Jaitley. "I can't imagine that I am so far here while my friend has gone away. Some days ago, we lost our former External Affairs Minister Behen Sushma Ji. Today I have lost my friend Arun," he said.
Earlier, he spoke to Mr Jaitley's family to give his condolences. Mr Jaitley's family told the Prime Minister not to cut short his important engagements abroad, news agency ANI reported. PM Modi will be in France today to attend the G7 summit.
Mr Jaitley, a lawyer by profession, had been an important part in PM Modi's cabinet in his first term. He held the finance and defence portfolios, and often acted as the chief troubleshooter of the government. During his tenure as finance minister, he led the enactment of a bankruptcy code and the Goods and Services Tax or GST.
Mr Jaitley's health issues became worse after he had a kidney transplant in May last year. He did not contest the 2019 Lok Sabha election presumably because of his ill-health.
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