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Vijay Goel pays tributes to Jaitley, recalls long association with departed leader

New Delhi, Aug 24 (PTI) Former Union minister Vijay Goel paid rich tributes to his "multi-faceted" friend Arun Jaitley on Saturday and recalled the departed leader's fondness for good food.Jaitley, a former Union finance minister and a senior leader of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), passed away on Saturday at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here, where he was undergoing treatment.Goel, who knew Jaitley for nearly five decades, said he lost a "friend, colleague and guide" in his demise."I first met him in 1971 at the Sri Ram College of Commerce, where he was my senior. He was the president of the college students' union, while I was the secretary. Our relationship started as Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists and lasted for 48 years," the BJP leader said.Recalling Jaitley's fondness for good food, he said, "He loved paranthas very much. Whenever he visited my haveli (Dharampura Haveli) at Chandni Chowk, he would ask for paranthas."Jaitley spent 19 months in jail during the Emergency in the 1970s for taking out a protest march, the Rajya Sabha MP said, adding that journalist Rajat Sharma and he himself soon followed suit.During his college days, Jaitley would go on outings to Shimla and Mussoorie, he said, adding that the former finance minister used to go to the Lodhi Gardens here for morning walk and regularly interacted with fellow morning-walkers over tea at a spot, which came to be known as the "Jaitley corner".As a Union minister, Jaitley deftly handled important portfolios such as defence, and finance among others, Goel, who was his cabinet colleague in the first term of the Narendra Modi government, said."He made special contributions in demonetisation, GST, macro-stabilisation, bank consolidation and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code in the Modi government," he said.In the party organisation as well as in the government, Jaitley always offered his wise counsel to younger colleagues, Goel said, adding that the void created by his demise would be very hard to fill. PTI VIT NITRC