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Home / News / India /  Former FM Jaitley laid to rest as nation bids adieu

New Delhi: The last rites of former finance and defence minister Arun Jaitley were performed with full state honours on Sunday at Nigambodh Ghat in the national capital. The senior leader of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) passed away on Saturday at the age of 66 following prolonged illness.

Jaitley is the second senior leader of the BJP to pass away this month, with former external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj breathing her last on 6 August after prolonged illness. Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and former Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar had also passed away in the last one year, impacting the senior leadership of the party.

“Jaitley’s passing away is a personal loss for me and crores of workers of BJP. The relationship between the BJP and Arun Jaitley is unbreakable because he dedicated his life to the party and its ideology from a very young age," tweeted J.P. Nadda, the working president of the BJP.

Jaitley’s final journey on Sunday marked the end of an era in national politics, especially for the BJP, as he along with Swaraj and Ananth Kumar had formed the core of the national leadership of the party since the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) under former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee lost power to the Congress in 2004. The three leaders, along with the current vice-president M. Venkaiah Naidu, had steered the BJP for a decade when it was in the Opposition.

The former minister was often called upon to troubleshoot for the ruling BJP and the government.

As such, the party will feel the impact of his passing away as he had friendly relations with people across the political spectrum, even in the Opposition and within the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological parent of the BJP.

When NDA returned to power in 2014 under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Jaitley was key in coordinating between the government and the key stakeholders within the RSS on major policy decisions.

Political leaders across the spectrum were present at Nigambodh Ghat when the last rites were performed by the minister’s son, Rohan.

Modi was not present at the cremation, but vice-president M. Venkaiah Naidu, veteran BJP leader L.K. Advani, home minister Amit Shah and defence minister Rajnath Singh, party’s working president JP Nadda, and several ministers were present at the ghat.

Congress leaders Jyotiraditya Scindia and Kapil Sibal were among those present at the cremation ground while Praful Patel of the Nationalist Congress Party was present along with several members of the NDA. With the BJP-NDA combine being in power in several states, most chief ministers of NDA-ruled states were also present to witness the rituals.

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