Former Union minister Arun Jaitley cremated with full State honourshttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/arun-jaitley-cremation-funeral-delhi-bjp-5935625/

Former Union minister Arun Jaitley cremated with full State honours

Earlier in the day, his body was taken to the BJP headquarters where party workers and mourners queued up in large numbers outside the party headquarters since morning to pay their last respects to the leader.

Former Union minister Arun Jaitley cremated with full State honours
Rohan Jaitley, son of former finance minister Arun Jaitley, performs a ritual during his father’s cremation at Nigam Bodh Ghat in New Delhi. (PTI)

Senior BJP leader and former Union minister Arun Jaitley was cremated at the Nigambodh Ghat in New Delhi with full state honours as the sky opened up on a cloudy Sunday afternoon. Leaders from across the political spectrum, admirers and party workers thronged the cremation ground to bid adieu to a leader who enjoyed goodwill across the divide.

Earlier in the day, Jaitley’s body was taken to the BJP headquarters, where party workers, Union ministers like Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh and other leaders curring across party lines queued up in large numbers to pay their last respects to the leader.

From the party headquarters, the remains of former student leader were carried in a flower-decked gun carriage to the cremation ground as slogans of ‘Jaitley ji amar rahein’ (long live Jaitley) reverberated in the air.

Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, BJP veteran LK Advani, party’s working president J P Nadda, Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, Smriti Irani and Anurag Thakur; BJP MPs Vijay Goel and Vinay Sahasrabuddhe; Congress leaders Jyotiraditya Scindia and Kapil Sibal were among those present at the cremation ground.

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Former Union minister Arun Jaitley cremated with full State honours
Politicians across party lines were present at the Nigam Bodh Ghat, in New Delhi. (Express photo: Abhinav Saha)

Jaitley, 66, passed away at the Delhi AIIMS on Saturday. He was undergoing treatment at the hospital, where he was admitted on August 9.

See rare photos of Arun Jaitley from Express archives

On Saturday, the Jaitley’s mortal remains were kept at his residence where President Ram Nath Kovind, Congress leader Sonia Gandhi and several other politicians cutting across party lines offered floral tributes.

Former Union minister Arun Jaitley cremated with full State honours
Senion BJP leader L K Advani at the Nigam Bodh ghat in New Delhi (Express photo: Abhinav Saha)

Known as a consensus builder, Jaitley was the BJP’s man for all seasons and acted as the key strategist for Narendra Modi government in its first term.

Read | Arun Jaitley hoped to pull through till end

A politician at heart, Jaitley had decided to stay away from the political corridors after being diagnosed with kidney ailments. Citing health reasons, he did not contest the Lok Sabha elections this year. After the Modi government returned to power for a second term, Jaitley had written to the Prime Minister saying he would like to stay away from “any responsibility” on account of his ill health.

Former Union minister Arun Jaitley cremated with full State honours
Mortal remains of former finance minister Arun Jaitley being taken to Nigam Bodh Ghat for cremation. (Express photo: Gajendra Yadav)

Jaitley, during his stint in the Finance Ministry, was instrumental in implementing the Goods and Service Tax (GST) reform aimed at streamlining India’s indirect tax structure. It was also during his tenure when the controversial decision of demonetisation was taken.

ExplainedArun Jaitley: BJP govt’s go-to man who built political consensus for GST

Arun Jaitley is survived by his wife Sangeeta and two children Rohan and Sonali, both practice as lawyers.

Rahul Gandhi: His presence will be remembered

In a condolence message to Jaitley’s wife Sangeeta, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Sunday said that Jaitley’s voice will no longer reverberate within the hallowed portals of Parliament, but his presence will be remembered.

Former Union minister Arun Jaitley cremated with full State honours
New Delhi: Congress President Sonia Gandhi consoles family members of former finance minister and BJP leader Arun Jaitley as party leader Rahul Gandhi looks on, at Greater Kailash, New Delhi, Saturday, Aug 24, 2019. (PTI)

Rahul said in Jaitley’s illustrious career spanning four decades, he left a mark on politics. “Your family is in my thoughts and prayers. I wish you peace and strength during this difficult time,” Gandhi said to Jaitley’s wife.

BJP working president JP Nadda, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Yoga Guru Ramdev also paid their last tribute at the party HQ, saying the BJP would seek his strategy whenever there was an election in the state.

Read | Sonia Gandhi condoles Jaitley’s death, says his contributions to public life will be remembered forever

“He has been a Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat. We have won several elections in the state by working on his strategy. We will always feel his absence,” Rupani was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

Former Union minister Arun Jaitley cremated with full State honours
New Delhi: Home Minister Amit Shah pays his respects to the mortal remains of BJP leader and former finance minister Arun Jaitley at BJP HQ, in New Delhi, Sunday, Aug 25, 2019. (PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday also paid an emotional tribute to Arun Jaitley, saying he cannot imagine that he was far away from India in Bahrain while his “dear friend” and party colleague passed away in New Delhi.

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“My friend Arun Jaitley loved India, loved his party and loved being among people. It is upsetting and unbelievable that a person I have known since our youth is no longer in our midst,” Modi had said in a tweet.