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Arun Jaitley writes to PM Modi, opts out of government citing health reasons

In his letter to Modi, the outgoing Finance Minister said that he has been facing serious health challenges for the last 18 months and requested for “reasonable time for myself, my treatment and my health”.

SNS | New Delhi |

Arun Jaitley on Wednesday wrote to Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi requesting him to keep him out of the new government which will be sworn in tomorrow.

In his letter to Modi, the outgoing Finance Minister said that he has been facing serious health challenges for the last 18 months and requested for “reasonable time for myself, my treatment and my health”.

“During the last eighteen months, I have had some serious health challenges. My doctors have enabled me to emerge out of most of them,” Jaitley wrote.

“After the 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 future, for some time, like to keep away from any responsibility,” he added.

The senior BJP leader said that he will be able to concentrate on his treatment and health if left out of the government.

“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.

Thanking the BJP and the PM, Jaitley wrote that it was a “great honour and a learning experience” for him to have been a part of the Modi government.

“The BJP and the NDA, under your leadership, have secured a spectacular win. The new Government would be sworn in tomorrow. I would obviously have a lot of time at my disposal to undertake any work informally to support the Government or the Party,” he added.

 

Jaitley, 66, has been unwell since he underwent a renal transplant in May 2018 in AIIMS. He had had stopped attending office since early April 2018 and was back in the Ministry on 23 August 2018.

In January, Jaitley underwent surgery in the US for a reported ailment. This prevented 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 returned to India on 9 February.

Though the senior BJP leader has been writing blogs and tweeting, he has not attended office for the last three weeks and did not attend the Cabinet meeting called on Friday in which the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha was recommended. He was also absent from the BJP parliamentary meeting in which Modi was elected as the leader.

The Union Minister has been meeting senior officials at his residence.

The government on Wednesday said reports on Jaitley’s deteriorating health are false and baseless, and media should stay clear of rumour mongering.