Prime Minister Narendra Modi called on Finance Minister Arun Jaitley last evening, hours after he formally ruled himself out of the next government citing his poor health. The visit is being seen as a courtesy call but the leaders may also discuss the shape and size of PM Modi’s new team that would be inducted at tomorrow’s swearing-in ceremony.
Arun Jaitley had told prime minister right after the campaign for the 2019 national elections ended that he had discharged the responsibilities assigned to him for the elections but would, for some time, like to concentrate on his treatment and health.
Jaitley, who spoke about serious health challenges that he had faced over the last 18 months, followed up on that conversation with a formal letter to the prime minister. He also put out a copy of the letter on his Twitter handle.
Jaitley has been one of PM Modi’s strongest supporters right from the days he was Gujarat chief minister and continued to play, apart from his considerable responsibilities as a minister, the role of the prime minister’s chief troubleshooter also.
The senior BJP leader has, however, told the party he would be able to undertake any work to support the government and the Bharatiya Janata Party.
For years, Jaitley has held the fort for the government in the Rajya Sabha where the NDA is still in a minority. His rapport with several opposition leaders helped the government pass several hurdles in the upper house of the Parliament.
Several political leaders including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal wished him well on Twitter. “Despite political differences, I have always found him to be affectionate and warm,” the Aam Aadmi Party chief said, wishing the lawyer-turned politician a speedy recovery.