NEW DELHI: People from across the social and political spectrum gathered to pay their last respects to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stalwart and former finance minister Arun Jaitley’s on his last journey to Nigambodh Ghat where he was cremated with full state honours, Sunday.
He is survived by his wife and two children.
His last rites were performed by his son Rohan Jaitley. The 66-year-old leader’s body was carried in a flower-laden gun carriage from BJP Headquarters off Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg to Nigambodh Ghat-people enroute showering flowers and chanting “Jaitley ji amar rahein” (long live Jaitley).
Earlier, his body was taken to his residence in Greater Kailash on Saturday where a host of politicians offered their condolences, among them Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, senior BJP leaders including party president and Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP veteran L.K Advani, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, party’s working president J P Nadda and Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, Smriti Irani and Anurag Thakur among others.
Besides a host of members of the judiciary, Congress leaders Jyotiraditya Scindia and Kapil Sibal, chief ministers Arvind Kejriwal, Nitish Kumar, Devendra Fadnavis, Vijay Rupani, B S Yediyurappa, Trivendra Singh Rawat and ML Khattar also paid their tributes.
Saba Ahmed, who comes from a lawyer’s family, hailed Jaitley’s persona that welcomed ‘discussion’. “He will be greatly missed by all of us,” Ahmed said.
“He taught us politics. He got me in politics. Forget BJP, if anybody from Delhi approached him for help, he never said no. He was not only a good orator but also a good mediator and had no enemies in any party,” recalled former Delhi mayor, Rajni Abbi.
Jaitley’s death is another jolt to the BJP after the demise of Sushma Swaraj on August 6 and Goa CM Manohar Parrikar in March this year.
Several states, including Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab, have declared state mourning.
There will be no official entertainment in government offices during the mourning period in Punjab, said a statement issued by the state government here on Sunday.
Paying tributes to Jaitley, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has said former union minister Arun Jaitley’s voice will no longer reverberate within the hallowed portals of Parliament, but his presence will be remembered.