New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday remembered late Arun Jaitley saying that the senior BJP leader, who passed away after a prolonged illness last month, had played a major role in his acquittal in "legal battle".
"He stood by my side firmy like a stone whenever I had to face difficult times in my life. He supported me on all fronts, be it related to the party, legal battle or something else. If I come out of that battle, it was because Arun ji's played a major role in it," Shah said at an event organised by the BJP to pay tributes to the departed leader. Praising Jaitley for his friendly behaviour, Shah said, "One of his characteristics was establishing friendly relations with people from across the parties. He had mastered the art of making friends of below and over his age." Shah also said that Jaitley, who died last month, played a major role in the formation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) and ensured that the tax reform did not fall in a political trap.
"His demise is a major loss of the party, politics and the country itself," the Union Minister said. BJP working president Jagat Prakash Nadda also remembered Jaitley as an "eloquent speaker, avid politician, and an advisor for everyone", adding that his demise was an "irreparable and personal loss". Nadda continued, "Whenever I felt as if I were on the brink of (mental) collapse, he supported and encouraged me." Speaking on the occasion, he said that Jaitley's demise had created a vacuum in the BJP and the Indian politics which could not be filled in the near future.
"Even opposition regarded him as a scholar and a visionary politician. The presence of all opposition party leaders here is a testament to his ability to work together with everyone," Nadda stated. He said that Jaitley had been committed to public life and did not care about his career when he spent 19 months in jail during the emergency. "He influenced a large number of students to participate in Jai Prakash Narayan's movement. As students, we were influenced by his speeches and were ready to follow the path," Nadda said.
The 'Shradhanjali' programme was held in the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here. Jaitley's wife Sangita, daughter Sonali and son Rohan were present on the occasion. Several diplomats and dignitaries including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and opposition leader like NCP chief Sharad Pawar were in attendance. Jaitley passed away at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at the age of 66 in New Delhi on August 24.