NEW DELHI: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday expressed sadness over the demise of former Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, and said he was a politician who was "appreciated across parties".
Ailing for long, Jaitley died at AIIMS on Saturday at the age of 66.
"Extremely saddened at the passing away of Arun Jaitley Ji, after a battle bravely borne. An outstanding Parliamentarian & a brilliant lawyer, appreciated across parties. His contribution to Indian polity will be remembered. My condolences to his wife, children, friends & admirers," Banerjee said in a statement.
Jaitley, a lawyer by profession, had been a key member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Cabinet in the BJP government's first term.
He held the finance and defence portfolios, and often acted as the chief troubleshooter of the government.
Jaitley did not contest the 2019 Lok Sabha election, presumably because of his ill-health.
In May this year, Jaitley was admitted to AIIMS for treatment.
He had undergone a renal transplant on May 14 last year at AIIMS with Railways Minister Piyush Goyal filling in for him in the finance ministry at that time.
Jaitley, who had stopped attending office since early April last year, was back in the finance ministry on August 23, 2018.
In September 2014, he underwent bariatric surgery to correct the weight he had gained because of a long-standing diabetic condition.