Though reports suggest that Arun Jaitley might not take another tenure as India’s finance minister under the upcoming Modi Cabinet, he seems unperturbed. Amid rumours of his ill health, the Finance Minister today met five secretaries of the finance ministry, including Finance Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg, at his residence. Other top ministry officials who met Jaitley included Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey, Department of Investment and Public Asset Managementand Department of Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar.
Earlier, a report published in Reuters quoted unknown sources saying 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. “He is definitely not taking the post of the finance minister simply because he is very unwell,” sources told the news agency, adding that if he took any role at all, it could be a less stressful one.
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 was contained at 52 seats. PM Modi, Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, all won from their respective seats. After the poll results decisively went in the BJP’s favour, Modi and Amit Shah addressed the party workers at its headquarters in the national capital. However, Jaitley was not seen at the celebrations on the party’s landslide victory.
While Jaitley did not campaigned 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. Rumours are making rounds that his portfolio as the Finance Minister could go to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, who has been given the charge of the ministry twice before.
On January 23, Goyal was given the additional charge of Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Corporate Afffairs, 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 a temporary charge of the ministry in May 2018 after Jaitley underwent a kidney transplant surgery. Touted as chief troubleshooter in the Modi government, Jaitley was the one of top leaders in the Modi-led government. In his message to the party and the PM after the BJP’s victory in the General Elections, Jaitley had said, “Aspirational India does not accept royalties, dynasties and caste-based parties.”