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Politics

Arun Jaitley Bows Out of New Modi Cabinet, Cites Health Reasons

In his letter to the prime minister, Jaitley notes that he had informed Modi after the end of the Lok Sabha election campaign that he would require some time for himself in the future.

New Delhi: Former finance minister Arun Jaitley has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to give him any formal responsibility in the new government as he needs a “reasonable” length of time to concentrate on his medical treatment and health.

In a letter written to Modi, and released publicly on Wednesday afternoon, Jaitley acknowledged that he has had “serious health challenges” over the last 18 months.

Over the last few months, the senior BJP’s leader health has deteriorated, giving rise to speculation that he would not continue as finance minister after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

This speculation prompted the Central government last Sunday to suggest that the media should avoid “rumour mongering” and that any reports on the deteriorating health of Jaitley were false and baseless.

In January 2019, The Wire was the first to report that the former finance minister had to fly to New York for cancer treatment.

In his letter to the prime minister, Jaitley notes that he had informed Modi after the end of the Lok Sabha election campaign that he would require some time for himself in the future.

“I am writing to you formally request you that I should be allowed 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,” the letter notes.

Over the last five years, Jaitley became the government’s trouble-shooter on key economic issues – including the landmark Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code and the rolling-out of the new Goods and Services Tax regime.

While there is no official confirmation on who the finance minister will be in the new Modi government, market rumours suggest that BJP leaders Amit Shah and Piyush Goyal are in the running.