Former finance minister Arun Jaitley, who opted out of Modi-2.0 government due to ill-health, is likely to move to a new official residence soon after vacating the palatial bungalow he got as a minister, sources said. Jaitley had on May 29, a day before swearing in of the new Council of Ministers of Modi 2.0 Government, written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying that he did not want to continue as a minister in his new government due to health reasons.
The former minister said he has had “some serious” health challenges in the last 18 months and hence would like to keep away from “any responsibility” in future and concentrate on treatment and health. Sources said that Jaitley is yet to take a final call on his new official residence. He has his own house in the national capital’s Kailash Colony. He was allotted an official bungalow at 2, Krishna Menon Marg in 2014.
Jaitley remains a Rajya Sabha member. In the last government, he was also the Leader of the Rajya Sabha and will be entitled to a large bungalow if he gets the same status in the current government. Type VIII bungalows typically have a plot size of 8,250 sq ft, a plinth area of 1,970 sq ft, eight bedrooms, four servant quarters, two garages, front and rear lawns. Speculations are rife that as soon as his health improves he would be inducted as a minister without portfolio in the Modi 2.0 government.
A lawyer by profession, Jaitley has been the most important leader in Modi’s Cabinet and has often acted as the chief troubleshooter for the government. While as a finance minister he steered through Parliament major economic legislations such as GST– which had languished for nearly two decades.
He has also played a key role in getting through several other laws such as the bill to ban the Muslim instant divorce practice known as ‘triple talaq’ and also articulately defended the Rafale fighter jet deal. One of the most prolific voices in the Modi government and a key strategist, Jaitley did not contest the recent Lok Sabha elections presumably because of his ill health. He lost his first parliamentary election from Amritsar in 2014. Suave and articulate, he has been the party’s spokesperson for many years. He entered Parliament at the age of 47 when he was nominated to the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat, where Modi was the chief minister.
In his letter to Modi last month, Jaitley wrote: “I am writing to you to formally request you that I should be allowed a reasonable time for myself, my treatment and my health and therefore, not be a part of any responsibility, for the present, in the new government”.