Arun Jaitley, former Finance Minister, died today at Delhi's AIIMS hospital.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders mourned the death of Arun Jaitley, remembering him as a dear colleague, mentor and guide and hailing his contribution to the growth of the party and the nation.
BJP president and Union Home Minister Amit Shah said Mr Jaitley's death was a personal loss.
Arun Jaitley, 66, died at the AIIMS in Delhi after prolonged illness and is survived by his wife and children. "I am deeply saddened by the death of Arun Jaitley. Jaitley's departure is a personal loss for me. I have lost not only a senior leader of the organisation but also an integral member of the family whose support and guidance I have been receiving for years," Mr Shah tweeted.
BJP veteran LK Advani remembered Mr Jaitley as a man with a deeply analytical mind on whom the party depended on for finding solutions to complex issues. "A dedicated party worker for decades, he was someone who was inducted into the BJP core team when I was party President and he soon rose to become one of the most prominent leaders of the party," Mr Advani said in a statement.
BJP's working president JP Nadda recalled Mr Jaitley's fiery speeches in Parliament and said that the senior leader's smiling face as he dealt with tough situations will always remain with the partymen.
"His beliefs will always be our guide. The demise of Arun Jaitley has created a vacuum in Indian politics which can never be filled. With responsibilities of both the party and the government, Arunji has always been dedicated to the service of the nation. Be it strengthening the Indian economy or its defence, his role in placing India in the front row in the world is incomparable," said Mr Nadda.
A key strategist of the BJP and the Narendra Modi-led government during its first term, Mr Jaitley held the finance and defence portfolios, and often acted as the chief troubleshooter of the government.
"Jaitleyji will always be remembered for pulling the economy out of the gloom and putting it back on the right track. The BJP will miss Arunji's presence. I extend my heartfelt condolences to his bereaved family," said Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
Leaders recalled Mr Jaitley's sharp mind and quick wit and said that coupled with his "elephantine memory" he was a great asset to the BJP.
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said Arun Jaitley's death is a loss to the entire nation, the government and the party. "I have seen him closely when he started as a student leader of the Vidyarthi Parishad. He was one of the top lawyers in the country who possessed natural argumentative skills," Mr Gadkari said.
He said Mr Jaitley had contributed immensely towards the expansion of the BJP. "I used to take his suggestions on various matters when I was BJP president. He was dedicated to the ideology of the party. His speeches in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha will be remembered by the people."
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said no words can describe the loss. "A mentor to many of us, a guide and a moral support and strength. Have learnt so much from him. A fine large-hearted person. Always ready to help anyone/everyone. His intelligence, sagacity, astuteness have no match," she tweeted.
Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani said, "A stalwart who paid tribute to his simple beginnings by helping those with meagre means. Orator par excellence, legal luminary @arunjaitley ji served the Nation and sangathan with dedication and zeal. My tributes to him. Condolences to loved ones."
"Shocked at the demise of our guide and friend Arun Jaitley Ji. His wits, elephantine memory, great oratory skills, logical & unbeatable arguments & articulations will always be remembered. It is a great loss for @BJP4India," said Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar.
BJP ally and Union minister Ramvilas Paswan remembered him as one of the tallest leaders and also a fine human being. Mr Jaitley was also a reliable troubleshooter for the BJP, he said, recalling his contribution during the first BJP-led NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Union Minister Hardeep Puri remember his "old friend" and recalled the varied roles Jaitley played as "senior party leader, distinguished lawyer and political stalwart".
Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal descried Mr Jaitley as an "outstanding statesman" and "administrator".
"Even on his death bed, he was giving his opinions on the biggest political matters," said Shivraj Singh Chouhan, former Chief Minister, Madhya Pradesh.
Union Minister Siddharth Nath Singh called Arun Jaitley his "mentor".
"I have so many memories with him. Wherever I am and whatever I am is certainly because of him," he said.
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