Farewell, Arun Jaitley: One of India’s tallest leaders cremated with State honours


New Delhi, Aug 25
 Arun Jaitley, the BJP stalwart whose death sparked a massive outpouring of public grief in the country, was given a teary send-off with politicians across the spectrum attending his funeral held with State honours. Arun Jaitley’s son Rohan lit the funeral pyre as a 21-gun salute went off on the banks of the river Yamuna in National capital Delhi.
His body wrapped in the tricolour, Arun Jaitley was brought to Nigambodh Ghat in a flower-decked gun carriage from the BJP headquarters where thousands of people, leaders and diplomats whose lives he had touched and influenced had queued up to pay their respects.
Standing in front of the television cameras, someone called him the shining star of Indian politics, another bright spark whose death is a big loss for the Nation and legal community and the third, India’s tallest leader and a dear friend. Jaitley could build bridges over the widest ideological gaps and assimilate politically divergent views, yet come up with a win-win solution.
Many of those who came for him were the BJP’s political rivals, such as Telugu Desam Party’s Chandrababu Naidu, Congress’ Kapil Sibal and Aam Aadmi Party’s Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, whose return to the NDA was made possible due to Jaitley’s influence, also attended the funeral along with other top Ministers such as Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. Arun Jaitley, among the most prominent individuals in Indian public life, died at 66 at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. He had been admitted to hospital on August 9 after he complained of uneasiness. Jaitley breathed his last at 12.07 pm on Saturday, and returned home in a hearse soon after.
Home Minister Amit Shah cut short an official visit to Hyderabad and headed back to Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid an emotional tribute to Arun Jaitley from Bahrain, where he was as part of his three-Nation visit.
Courtesy Hindustan Times