New Delhi: Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley Wednesday opted out of the soon-to-be-formed NDA government, citing his health.
Jaitley, who held the finance ministry portfolio in the previous Narendra Modi government, has been unwell for stretches of time during this tenure.
His health has been a matter of concern ever since he underwent a kidney transplant in May last year and did not attend office during the last three weeks of the government.
In a letter to Modi, a copy of which he posted on his Twitter account, Jaitley congratulated the PM-elect for the BJP’s win, and formally requested to be left out of the new government.
“During the last eighteen months, I have had some serious health challenges. My doctors have enabled me to emerge out of most of them … 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.
He however said he will undertake any work informally to support the government or the BJP, and thanked Modi and the party for the “honour and a learning experience” of being part of the government in the past five years.
I have today written a letter to the Hon’ble Prime Minister, a copy of which I am releasing: pic.twitter.com/8GyVNDcpU7
— Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) May 29, 2019
A lawyer by profession, the 66-year-old has been the most important leader in Modi’s Cabinet and has often acted as the chief troubleshooter for the government.
Railways and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal was the stand-in finance minister who presented the interim budget for 2019-20.