Veteran BJP leader and former Finance Minister Arun Jaitely died on 24 August 2019 in New Delhi. He was 66. Arun Jaitely had been suffering from various ailments for the past few years. He was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) New Delhi on August 9. In a statement, AIIMS said he was being treated by a multidisciplinary team of senior doctors.
President Ram Nath Kovind said he is extremely saddened by the demise of Arun Jaitley, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi called him a political giant. Condolence messages from leaders of political parties across the spectrum and people from different walks of life have poured in for Arun Jaitley.
Arun Jaitley had previously held the cabinet portfolios of Finance, Defence, Corporate Affairs, Commerce and Industry, and Law and Justice in the Vajpayee government and Narendra Modi government. From 2009 to 2014, he served as the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha. He was a Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court of India. He oversaw the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax which brought the country under one GST regime, demonetization, merger of Railway budget with general budget and introduction of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. Jaitley decided not to join the Modi Cabinet in 2019, due to health issues.
Jaitley had been a member of the national executive of Bharatiya Janata Party since 1991. He became the spokesperson of the BJP during the period preceding the 1999 general election. In 1999, after the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government led National Democratic Alliance came to power, he was appointed Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting (Independent Charge). In addition he was appointed Minister of State for Disinvestment (Independent Charge). The disinvestment ministry was created for the first time in accordance with the policy of disinvestment under the World Trade Organization regime. On 23 July 2000 following the resignation of Ram Jethmalani as the Union Cabinet Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs, he took over his ministry as an additional charge.
He was chosen as the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha on 3 June 2009 by L.K. Advani. On 16 June 2009, he resigned from the post of General Secretary of BJP. He was also a member of the Central Election Committee of the party. As the leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, he participated in the debates on the Women's Reservation Bill in the Rajya Sabha and also supported Anna Hazare in his 2011 Indian anti-corruption movement for the Jan Lokpal Bill. He successfully introduced the eighty-fourth amendment to the Constitution of India in 2002 freezing parliamentary seats until 2026 and the 91th amendment to the Constitution of India in 2004 penalising defections. However, being in the party since 1980 he never contested any direct election until 2014. He was the BJP candidate for the Amritsar seat in the Lok Sabha (replacing Navjot Singh Sidhu) for the 2014 general election, but lost to the Indian National Congress candidate Amarinder Singh. He was nominated as a Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat. He was re-nominated to the Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh in March 2018.