New Delhi, Sep 10: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday paid glowing tributes to former Union Minister and his 'young friend' Arun Jaitley and described him as truly an organisation man.
The Prime Minister, who was abroad on August 24 the day Jaitley breathed his last, said he was one of the unfortunates who missed the 'last darshan' of his friend who was younger to him.
'It is tough for me to express in as many words that I have to pay 'anjali' to my friend. Such a thing should not come in anybody's life. It should not come in anybody's life, I must say,' he said in an emotionally choked voice at a Shradhanjali ceremony organised by BJP here.
'It must be a decision of the God and the unfortunate responsibility is on me today to pay humble tributes to an old and good friend; who was younger to me,' Mr Modi said in presence of BJP patriarch L K Advani, several ministerial colleagues and Opposition leaders who also recalled personal bond with the Late BJP leader.
On the day, an ailing Jaitley expired at AIIMS, the Prime Minister had spoken to Jaitley's wife Sangeeta as well as his son Rohan and expressed his condolences.
According to sources, Jaitley's family members had requested him not to alter his itinerary as he was in UAE and had to move to France to attend the G7 Summit.
'...I share with him a very long association and I missed his last Darshan, it will be a heavy weight in my heart for a long time,' said Mr Modi, who has been close to Late Jaitley since 2002 when the former Union Minister used to defend the then Gujarat Chief Minister on the law & order situation in the western state.
The Prime Minister said Late Jaitley had a unique personality with multi-facet talent and was always willing to help others in whichever way he could.
'Pal bhar ke liye aap kalpana kijiye mere jaise logon ka kya hota hoga jisne aise pratibhavaan saathi ko khoya hai,' said Mr Modi.
The function was attended among others by Late Jaitley's wife Sangeeta and children-- son Rohan and daughter Sonali.
Mr Modi said despite his financial standing as an individual, Late Jaitley never stayed in a good hotel and always stood by the decision of the party during meetings to share room with party colleagues in any condition. 'I have personally shared room with him a number of years,' he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Home Minister and BJP chief Amit Shah said the demise of Arun Jaitley was untimely and a personal loss to him.
He said Jaitley was a powerful orator and Mr Shah also recalled Jaitley's immense contribution in ensuring consensus during the implementation of GST in 2017.
Paying tributes to Jaitley, Union Food Minister and LJP leader ram Vilas Paswan said though Jaitley was much younger to him in age, the Late BJP leader was more often a 'margdarshak(guide) to all of us'.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said his association with late Jaitley goes back to 1980.
Mr Singh, who served as Agriculture Minister under Vajpayee, said Late Jaitley had played a key role as Commerce Minister to turn the debate at WTO in 2003 in favour of farmer subsidies and the stand the Government of India had taken then.
'Jaitley's death has created a vacuum in Indian politics and leaders of all political parties realised this,' Mr Singh said.
Opposition leaders , including Sharad Pawar of NCP and Abhishekmanu Singhvi of Congress also recalled their close personal association with Jaitley.
Trinamool Congress leader Dinesh Trivedi said, 'It is not only the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah who lost their friend in Arun Jaitley, but we in the Opposition or in Trinamool Congress also lost a friend.' (UNI)