Arun Jaitley opts out due to poor health, requests Modi not to assign any role in new govt
Arun Jaitley has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he will "not be part of any responsibility, for the present, in the new government" because of his health. The former finance minister also tweeted a copy of his letter to PM Modi, a day before his oath ceremony on Thursday.
"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," Mr Jaitley wrote.
Mr Jaitley, 66, said he had faced "some serious health challenges" in the last 18 months.
He said after the national election campaign, when PM Modi was leaving for the Kedarnath shrine, he 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. This will enable me to concentrate on my treatment and health."
The senior BJP leader signed off by saying he would "obviously" have a lot of time to take up any work "informally" to support the government or the party.
Mr Jaitley, who is one of the top three leaders in the BJP and the government, after PM Modi and party president Amit Shah, was not seen at the celebrations at BJP headquarters on Thursday night. Both PM Modi and Mr Shah gave victory speeches at the event.
He has not been seen in public for at least two weeks but has been publishing blogs and messages on social media.
Amid rumours about his health over the past few days, Mr Jaitley had appeared in several photos of his meetings with officials and others.
Mr Jaitley, a lawyer-turned politician, has always been among the BJP's chief troubleshooters. In the past five years, he has steered major economic legislation and has also defended controversial policies for the government.
PM Modi had given Mr Jaitley charge of three ministries when he first took office in 2014 - finance, defence and information and broadcasting.