New Delhi: A day before the swearing-in ceremony of the new government, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley wrote Wednesday to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating he does not want to be a minister in his new government due to health reasons.
Ending days of speculations over his role in the new government owing to his ill health, he posted on Twitter the letter he wrote to Modi requesting recusal from being a part of the new government on health grounds.
I have today written a letter to the Hon’ble Prime Minister, a copy of which I am releasing: pic.twitter.com/8GyVNDcpU7
— Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) May 29, 2019
Jaitley said soon after BJP won a massive majority in the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections, he had informed Modi orally about his intentions of taking time out for treatment of an undisclosed illness.
Without disclosing the ailment he is being treated for, Jaitley said he would continue to informally support the government and the party in any form that is required.
“I am writing to you to formally request you that I should be allowed a reasonable time for myself, my treatment and my health and therefore, not be a part of any responsibility, for the present, in the new government,” Jaitley wrote.
Jaitley, 66, was admitted to AIIMS last week to undergo tests and treatment for an undisclosed illness and was discharged Thursday – the day results of Lok Sabha elections were announced. He however did not attend celebrations at BJP headquarters that evening after the party’s emphatic victory. BJP won a landslide 303 seats, of the 542, in the general elections.
In the letter, Jaitley said during the last 18 months, he has had ‘some serious’ health challenges. “My doctors have enabled me to emerge out of most of them. After the campaign had concluded and you were leaving for Kedarnath, I had orally informed you that even though I was able to discharge the responsibilities assigned to me during the campaign, I would in future, for some time, like to keep away from any responsibility. This will enable me to concentrate on my treatment and health,” Jaitley said in his letter.
Stating it was a matter of ‘great honour and learning experience’ to have been a part of the Modi government for the last five years, Jaitley said even earlier the party had bestowed responsibility on him in the first NDA government, as also when the BJP was in the opposition. Jaitley was the leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha from 2009 to 2014.
“I could not have asked for more,” Jaitley wrote.
A lawyer by profession, he has been the most important leader in Modi’s Cabinet and has often acted as the chief troubleshooter for the government.
As a finance minister he steered through Parliament major economic legislations such as GST—which had languished for nearly two decades. He has also played key role in getting through several other laws such as the bill to ban the Muslim instant divorce practice known as ‘triple talaq’ and also articulately defended the Rafale fighter jet deal. However, he did not contest the 2019 polls.
Jaitley underwent a surgery in the US, January 22 for a reported soft tissue cancer in his left leg, an illness that deprived him from presenting the Modi government’s sixth and final budget of its current term. Railway and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal was the stand-in Finance Minister who presented the interim budget for 2019-20.