Arun Jaitley opts out due to poor health, requests Modi not to assign any role in new govt

Arun Jaitley opts out due to poor health, requests Modi not to assign any role in new govt

Arun Jaitley says he should be allowed a "reasonable time" for himself, his treatment and his health; thanks the party for giving him the opportunity to serve the previous NDA government

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has formally requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to assign him any role in the new Cabinet. Jaitley, in a letter to the Prime Minister, has said he needs a "reasonable time" for his treatment and health. Congratulating Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a spectacular victory in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Jaitley said he has faced some serious health challenges in the past 18 months.

"My doctors have enabled me to emerge out of most of them," he said. Jaitley added: "After the campaign had concluded and you were leaving for Kedarnath, I had orally informed you that even though I was able to discharge the responsibilities assigned to me during the campaign, I would in future, for some time, like to keep away from any responsibility," he wrote.

Earlier, a report published in Reuters quoting unknown sources said that Jaitley, 66, might not take up the offer to continue as the Finance Minister due to his health, which has deteriorated in the past couple of months. However, a day after Modi's big win, Jaitley had met five secretaries of the finance ministry, including Finance Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg, at his residence. While Jaitley did not campaign like Modi and other top leaders of the BJP during the Lok Sabha elections, he was actively involved in writing blogs and posts on his social media handles.

On January 23, Piyush Goyal was given the additional charge of Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Corporate Affairs, just a week before the Union Budget 2019, as Jaitley had gone to the US for his medical check-up. Before that, Goyal was given temporary charge of the ministry in May 2018 after Jaitley underwent a kidney transplant surgery.

Narendra Modi will take oath as the country's Prime Minister on Thursday. Other Council of Ministers will also take the oath during the swearing-in ceremony, which will be attended by several dignitaries from all over the world. The BJP-led NDA stormed into a resounding victory in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections by winning 303 of total 542 Lok Sabha seats that went to polls. The Congress party won 52 seats.

Edited by Manoj Sharma

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