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Arun Jaitley opts out of new Cabinet, cites health reasons


New Delhi, May 29: Senior Bharatiya Janata Dal (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley has told PM Narendra Modi that he would like to stay away from "any responsibility" in the Modi government's second term in office.

Arun Jaitley opts out of new Cabinet, cites health reasons

Taking to twitter Jaitley wrote "I have today written a letter to the Hon'ble Prime Minister, a copy of which I am releasing," Jaitley said, posting an image of his letter to PM Narendra Modi.

Writing to the Prime Minister, Jaitley cited health reasons for his decision. Jaitley said staying away from any responsibility will help him concentrate on his treatment and health.

"After my 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 near future, for some time, like to keep away from any responsibility. This will enable me to concentrate on my treatment and health," he said.

"While has doctors have enabled him to come out of most of his "serious health challenges," I would want some time off. I will, however, be available to undertake any work "informally" to support the government," he further added.

The clarification from Jaitley comes amid speculations about his health.

A lawyer by profession, Jaitley has been one of the most important leaders in Modi's Cabinet and has often acted as the chief troubleshooter for the government.

He had undergone surgery in the US on January 22 for a reported soft tissue cancer in his left leg, an illness that deprived him from presenting the Modi government's sixth and final budget of its current term. Railway and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal was the stand-in finance minister who presented the interim budget for 2019-20.

Jaitley had returned to India on February 9 after undergoing skin grafting. He is believed to had undergone some kind of a medical procedure again when he last month visited the US to attend the IMF-World Bank Group Spring Meetings.

Jaitley had undergone renal transplant on May 14 last year at AIIMS, New Delhi, with Goyal filling in for him at that time too. Jaitley, who had stopped attending office since early April 2018, was back in the finance ministry on August 23, 2018.

Earlier in September 2014, he underwent bariatric surgery to correct the weight he had gained because of a long-standing diabetic condition.

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