Former finance minister and BJP leader Arun Jaitley passed away on Saturday at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi, weeks after he was admitted to the hospital after he complained of breathlessness and restlessness. He was 66 years old.
According to a bulletin put out by the AIIMS, the former Union minister passed away at 12:07 pm today.
Jaitley had been put on life support system. The BJP leader was put on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), which is used for those patients whose lungs and heart are incapable of operating on its own.
Jaitley, who was admitted to the AIIMS on August 9, has been in the hospital’s ICU since then as he was critical but haemodynamically stable – a term that in medical parlance means that his heart rate and blood circulation are under manageable levels.
After Friday, the day he was admitted to the hospital, the AIIMS had not issued any bulletin on Jaitley’s health condition.
Shortly after, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and other top BJP leaders visited the hospital to inquire about his condition.
Jaitley was admitted to the cardiology department at 10 am on August 9 “for a medical check-up” and was being monitored by a team comprising an endocrinologist, a nephrologist and a cardiologist.
The next day, after Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu visited AIIMS to enquire about Jaitley’s health, his office had said that the former minister was responding to treatment.
Several Union Ministers including Rajnath Singh, Smriti Irani and Jitendra Singh, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat as well as Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had visited the AIIMS earlier last week to enquire about his health.
President Ram Nath Kovind, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had visited the hospital last Friday.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and Minister of State for Health Ashwini Choubey were present during their visits.
Leaders across the political spectrum visited the hospital in the following weeks. Among other leaders, Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik, Congress leaders Abhishek Singhvi and Jyotiraditya Scindia, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, BSP chief Mayawati also visited the hospital.
In May this year, Arun Jaitley was admitted to AIIMS for treatment.
A lawyer by profession, Jaitley had been an important part in Narendra Modi’s Cabinet during his first tenure as prime minister. He held the finance and defence portfolios, and often acted as the chief troubleshooter of the government.
Jaitley did not contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections presumably because of his ill-health.
Arun Jaitley has been suffering from multiple health conditions, including diabetes and high blood pressure.
He had undergone renal transplant on May 14 last year with Piyush Goyal filling in for him in the finance ministry at that time. Jaitley, who had stopped attending office since early April 2018, was back in the finance ministry on August 23, 2018.
Earlier this year, Jaitley underwent treatment for soft cell sarcoma, a type of cancer that affects soft tissues of the body, including fat, muscles and blood vessels.
In September 2014, he underwent bariatric surgery to correct the weight he had gained because of a long-standing diabetic condition.
His demise comes weeks after former External Affairs Minister and senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj passed away late on August 6 after suffering a heart attack.