Don't cut short foreign tour .... Jaitley's family tells PM Modi

Narendra Modi

New Delhi, Aug 24: Former Finance Minister and senior BJP leader Arun Jaitely's demise has prompted a massive outpouring of condolences by a host senior political leaders from across party and ideological lines.

Jaitley passed away at the AIIMS here on Saturday after a prolonged illness.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also expressed his grief, taking to Twitter to pay his final respect to Jaitley.

However, in a big-hearted gesture, Jaitley's family has urged Modi not to cut short his ongoing three-nation tour in its wake.

Modi called Jaitley's wife and son and expressed his condolences after the BJP veteran Rajya Sabha MP passed away at Delhi's AIIMS earlier in the day. However, the family members urged the Prime Minister not to cancel his ongoing foreign tour.

Modi, who is in the UAE, met the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on Saturday to discuss bilateral, regional and international matters of mutual interest.

From the UAE, he travels to the Kingdom of Bahrain, the first-ever Prime Ministerial visit from India to the Gulf monarchy.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) also expressed deep condolence over Jaitley's demise.

In a statement jointly issued by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and his deputy Suresh Soni, the RSS said that at a time when the nation was on the path of development, Jaitley's contributions were not only expected, but also significant.

"Arun Jaitley has breathed his last today after completing his talented and sensitive leadership," read the statement.

Jaitley's plunge into politics was through the ABVP, the student wing of RSS. He took active participation in the Delhi University Student Union elections.

"He started his social and political life right from his youth," said the statement.

The RSS also said that it acknowledged the pain and grief which Jaitley's friends and family members were going through.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also condoled Jaitley's death, saying that he was a great orator and an outstanding parliamentarian. The country has lost a great leader who always worked for the betterment of society, Singh said.

In his condolence letter to Jaitley's wife, Sangeeta Jaitley, Manmohan Singh said, "I have learnt with profound sorrow about the sad and shocking news of the untimely demise of our beloved Arun Jaitley."

"He was an eminent lawyer, an excellent orator, a very good administrator and an outstanding parliamentarian. In his death the country has lost a great leader who always worked for the betterment of society," he said.

The former Prime Minister said that "I take this opportunity to convey to you and other members of your family my heartfelt condolences on this bereavement".

"We pray to Almighty to give all of you the strength to bear this great loss with courage and fortitude," he added.

Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi also expressed her condolence, saying that Jaitley's contribution to public life will forever be remembered.

In a statement, Sonia Gandhi expressed deep pain and distress at the untimely passing away of Jaitley.

Condoling his death Sonia Gandhi said, "Jaitley had a long innings as a public figure, Parliamentarian and Minister and his contributions to public life will forever be remembered."

News24 Bureau with IANS inputs

Photo: Google Image