NEW DELHI — Outgoing finance Minister Arun Jaitley Wednesday on Wednesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying he does not want to be a minister in the new BJP government due to health reasons.
In the four-paragraph letter, Jaitley said he had orally informed Modi about his desire not to be a part of the new BJP government to enable him to concentrate on treatment and health.
“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,” he wrote.
The government had on Sunday said reports on Jaitley’s deteriorating health were false and baseless, and media should stay clear of rumour mongering.
“Reports in a section of media regarding Union Minister Shri Arun Jaitley’s health condition are false and baseless. Media is advised to stay clear of rumour mongering,” government spokesperson Sitanshu Kar tweeted.
Jaitley was admitted to AIIMS last week to undergo tests and treatment for an undisclosed illness and was discharged on Thursday but did not attend celebrations at BJP headquarters that evening after the party’s emphatic victory in general elections.
His health has been on a decline ever since he underwent a kidney transplant in May last year. He has not attended office for the last three weeks and has rarely been seen in public. He, however, has been writing blogs and tweeted on Modi’s victory Thursday.
He neither attended the Cabinet meeting called Friday that recommended dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha, nor the Saturday meeting of the BJP parliamentary party that elected Modi as its leader.
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.
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.
Jaitley had undergone renal transplant on May 14 last year at AIIMS, New Delhi, with Goyal filling in for him at that time too. Jaitley, who had stopped attending office since early April 2018, was back in the finance ministry on August 23, 2018.
Earlier in September 2014, he underwent bariatric surgery to correct the weight he had gained because of a long-standing diabetic condition.