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Resting in remembrance

Resting in remembrance

The Indian democracy stands bereaved with the loss of yet another stalwart, a senior leader of many talents, there are many reasons to grieve his demise. At 66, Arun Jaitley left for his heavenly abode on Saturday at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi after prolonged ill health. His passing away is mourned by leaders cutting across not just political lines, but also lawyers and eminent figures from other walks of life equally. He served in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Cabinet from 2014 to 2018. As a Union Finance Minister, Mr. Jaitley is remembered to have steered landmark reforms such as a nationwide Goods and Services Tax and a bankruptcy code. The departed Minister was one of the most important leaders in the first Narendra Modi government in 2014 and was often its chief troubleshooter. He was also the Leader of Opposition from 2009 to 2014 in Rajya Sabha. However, he did not contest the Lok Sabha election in 2019 presumably owing to his complicated health condition. Arun Jaitley was admitted to Delhi's AIIMS on August 9 after he complained of breathlessness and restlessness, he was also a diabetic. His illness had him step down in January this year before the general elections that brought Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to power for the second time in a row. His health deteriorated particularly after he underwent a kidney transplant in May last year due to which he had to skip the presentation of the interim budget in February 2018. He was in hospital in the United States for cancer treatment at that time. He also had triple bypass heart surgery when he was 52. The lawyer-turned politician contributed immensely to BJP and the government for over two decades and was one of the most important strategists for the party. He was seen as a key player in preparing the party's strategies for the Lok Sabha and the Assembly elections long before Amit Shah emerged on the national scene and made his mark. He had been in charge of states including Gujarat since 2002, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, Assam, and West Bengal. One of the tallest leaders of our country, Mr. Jaitley had held the portfolios of Finance, Defence, Corporate Affairs, Commerce and Industry, and Law and Justice.

A most endearing side of Mr. Jaitley surfaces every time he is fondly remembered by numerous lawyers who grew under him. Jurists and lawyers recall how he mentored many, enabling them to perform better and taking responsibility for them when they faltered. He was known to be a person who listened well, spoke well, and worked tirelessly. Erudite and suave, he leaves behind a legacy of impeccable professionalism. His tremendous calibre both as a politician and as a lawyer are things to emulate. This very quality of him made him immensely popular with briefing juniors. The tweets that pour in in condolences only shed more light the towering and endearing personality that Mr. Jaitley was. From his fondness for good food to his popularity across party lines, Arun Jaitley was a benevolent man who always meant well for the people and who the nation will always remember. The Indian democracy laments the loss of this political giant and legal luminary whose departure marks the end of an era.

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