Arun Jaitley opts out of new Modi cabinet citing health reasons; writes to PM asking "reasonable time"
Jaitley wrote to PM formally requesting that he should be allowed a reasonable time for himself and his health.
He thanked PM Modi for the responsibilities assigned to him in the previous government, and also while in the Opposition. He said that he has had some serious health challenges during the last eighteen months and his doctors enabled him to come out of most of them. He said, though he was able to discharge his responsibilities during campaigning, he would like to keep away from taking any in near future to concentrate on his treatment and health.
“After my 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 near future, for some time, like to keep away from any responsibility. This will enable me to concentrate on my treatment and health,” he wrote.
He further stated: “I am writing to you to formally request you that I should be allowed a reasonable time for myself, my health and my treatment, and therefore, not be a part of any responsibility, for the present, in the new government.”
He said he would undertake any work informally to support the Government or the party.
Jaitley posted the letter from his official Twitter handle amid reports of his poor health doing rounds.
Jaitley’s health has been on a decline after he underwent a kidney transplant in May last year.
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
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.
While as a finance minister he steered through Parliament major economic legislations such as the nationwide Goods and Services Tax (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'.
One of the most prolific voices in the Modi government and a key strategist, Jaitley did not contest the current Lok Sabha elections presumably because of his ill health.
He lost his first parliamentary election from Amritsar in 2014.
Jaitley has been the party's spokesperson for many years. He entered Parliament at the age of 47 when he was nominated to the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat, where Modi was the chief minister.
Jaitley was a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and when Modi swept to power in 2014, he was made the finance minister and also handled briefly the additional charge of defence and information and broadcasting ministries.
He had undergone surgery in the US on 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.
Jaitley had returned to India on February 9 after undergoing skin grafting.
He is believed to had undergone some kind of a medical procedure again when he last month visited the US to attend the IMF-World Bank Group Spring Meetings.
(Additional inputs from PTI)
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