Arun Jaitley cremated with state honours, nation pays last respects

FINAL JOURNEY: Union ministers Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh and senior leaders from across the political divide paid their last respects to the late finance minister Arun Jaitley at the BJP headquarters on Sunday afternoon before his final journey. Wrapped in the tricolour, the mortal remains were brought to the BJP headquarters on Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Marg at 11 am. He was later cremated at the Nigambodh Ghat in New Delhi. Photo: PTI
Arun Jaitley, former finance minister, key troubleshooter of the Narendra Modi government and the liberal face of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was cremated in the national Capital with full state honours on Sunday afternoon.

His son Rohan performed the last rites at the Nigambodh Ghat. Several political leaders, and not just of the BJP’s but the Congress and other parties as well, chief ministers, friends, followers, and admirers attended the cremation.

Rohan, son of Arun Jaitley, performs the last rites at Nigambodh Ghat on Sunday

Jaitley, 66, ailing for the past several months, passed away at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on Saturday. He was admitted to AIIMS on August 9, and was on life support for the past couple of weeks. Jaitley had retired from active political life because of his illness, but had continued to share his thoughts on Twitter and his blogs.

ALSO READ: The Jaitley era

Family members, dignitaries and others attend the funeral
Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi could not attend the cremation of his party colleague, close friend, and the principal architect of the government that took oath of office in May 2014 as he is away on an official visit to France, the UAE, and Bahrain. After completing his three-nation visit, the PM returned to France on Sunday to attend the G7 Summit at the coastal town of Biarritz.

In New Delhi, hundreds paid tributes to Jaitley at his south Delhi residence, where his body was kept overnight in a casket wrapped in the national flag. It was taken to the BJP national headquarters at Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Marg on Sunday morning for party workers to pay their respects and from there to the cremation ground in a flower-decked gun carriage.

Sangeeta Jaitley and Sonali Jaitley Bakhshi, wife and daughter, get emotional at the BJP headquarters
Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, senior BJP leader L K Advani, BJP President and Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and chief ministers of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Bihar, Uttarakhand, and Delhi Devendra Fadnavis, Vijay Rupani, B S Yediyurappa, Nitish Kumar, Trivendra Singh Rawat and Arvind Kejriwal, respectively, were also there.

BJP Working President J P Nadda, Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, Smriti Irani, and Anurag Thakur, Congress leaders Jyotiraditya Scindia and Kapil Sibal were among those present at the cremation ground. Posters remembering Jaitley were put up on the thoroughfare leading to the Nigambodh Ghat, on the banks of the Yamuna river.

Senior Congress leader Motilal Vora, Nationalist Congress Party leaders Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel, Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Ajit Singh and former Andhra Pradesh chief minister and Telugu Desam Party leader N Chandrababu Naidu also paid respects to Jaitley at his Kailash Colony residence in south Delhi.

It was during Jaitley’s tenure as the finance minister that the goods and services tax was rolled out, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code implemented, the controversial electoral bonds introduced, and contentious demonetisation decision announced.


“Mr Jaitley’s great contribution to elevating our bilateral relationship to a new height, during his tenure as finance minister and defence minister, will be remembered by the people of Japan”

--- Kenji Hiramatsu- Japanese Ambassador to India

“Jaitley was a man that many people in Britain treasured, knew well, worked with, valued him for his wisdom, gentleness, and humour”

---  Dominic Asquith, British High Commissioner to India

“Jaitley did what he did out of patience and love for his nation. On behalf of Israel, we pay our heartful condolences” 

 --- DR Ron Malka, Ambassador of Israel 

“Jaitley’s demise is a great loss to the BJP, the legal system has lost an excellent advocate and the nation which has lost a matured and large-hearted person”

---  Abhishek Manu Singhvi, SC senior advocate & Rajya Sabha MP  

“A friend and a dear colleague will be remembered for his seminal contributions to the polity and as FM”

---  Kapil Sibal Rajya Sabha MP