Union ministers, leaders pay last respects to Arun Jaitley at BJP headquarters

New Delhi: The mortal remains of former finance minister Arun Jaitley were on Sunday morning brought to the BJP headquarters where Union ministers Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, senior party leaders and workers paid their last respects.

BJP working president JP Nadda, Union ministers Harsh Vardhan, Prakash Javadekar, Piyush Goyal and Anurag Thakur, and AAP leader Sanjay Singh also paid their last respects to Jaitley. "Jaitley's loss is irreparable and he will always be remembered for his contribution," Harsh Vardhan said. The body will be taken to the Nigambodh Ghat in a flower-decked gun carriage on the banks of the Yamuna river for performing the last rites around 2.30 pm with full State honours, a senior BJP leader said.

The 66-year-old passed away at the AIIMS here on Saturday. He was undergoing treatment at the hospital, where he was admitted on August 9. Among others who paid their respects are Manipur Governor Najma Heptulla, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Yoga Guru Ramdev. Rupani said the BJP would seek his strategy whenever there was an election in the state.

"He has been a Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat. We have won several elections in the state by working on his strategy. We will always feel his absence," Rupani told reporters. Wrapped in the national flag, Jaitley's body was brought to the BJP headquarters located on the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Marg here from his Kailash Colony residence. BJP workers and mourners queued up in large numbers outside the party headquarters to pay their last respects to the departed leader.

Outside the party office, people chanted "Jab tak suraj chand rahega Jaitley tera naam rahega" (Your name will endure as long as the Sun and the Moon exist)" and 'Jaitley ji amar rahe' (Long live Jaitley). "He was a great speaker and parliamentarian and his death is a huge loss for the country and the party. Whenever the party faced any problem, his advice would be sought," an emotional Heptulla told reporters.

On Saturday, Jaitley's body was kept at his residence where President Ram Nath Kovind, BJP chief Amit Shah and several leaders across the political spectrum offered him floral tributes. Shah on Saturday said Jaitley was a crusader against corruption and credited him for the successful implementation of the GST and demonetisation, and taking the Jan Dhan Yojana to the masses.

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