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New Delhi:

Union finance minister Arun Jaitley decides to be out of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new cabinet. He has formally requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to assign him any role in the new Cabinet. Jaitley, in a letter to the Prime Minister, has said he needs a “reasonable time” for his treatment and health. Congratulating Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a spectacular victory in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Jaitley said he has faced some serious health challenges in the past 18 months.

Jaitley was absent at the celebrations held at the party headquarters in New Delhi on May 23 when the results of the 17th general election were out, and as well as at the National Democratic Alliance’s parliamentary party meet on May 25. However, the new Council of Ministers is scheduled to be sworn in on Thursday evening.

Meanwhile, Modi on Wednesday met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, hours after he announced his decision not to seek a ministerial berth in the new government. According to sources, Modi discussed the new government’s priorities and spoke about Jaitley’s health. Though there was no official announcement on the outcome of the meeting, which lasted about 20 minutes, Modi is learnt to have requested Jaitley to reconsider his decision. It is not known if Jaitley agreed to stay on in the government.

Jaitley is the second most senior member of the cabinet to opt out. Earlier, former external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had told the party before the Lok Sabha polls that she no longer wanted to contest elections.

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