India Quells Rumors on Jaitley’s Health Amid Doubts He’ll Stay
Arun Jaitley. (Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg)

India Quells Rumors on Jaitley’s Health Amid Doubts He’ll Stay

(Bloomberg) -- India moved to quash rumors of the deteriorating health of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley ahead of the formation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new cabinet this week.

Government officials and friends of Jaitley, 66, took to social media on the weekend to deny media reports that he was unwell. Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das tweeted a photo with the finance minister after a “courtesy meeting,” while lawmaker Swapan Dasgupta vouched for his “terrific form and wit.” Government spokesman Sitanshu Kar said on Sunday that reports of Jaitley’s health were “false and baseless.”

Jaitley was largely absent from office in the weeks before the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s landslide election victory. He missed a cabinet event on Friday, and wasn’t at a party meeting on Saturday, where Modi was named prime minister for a second term. The finance minister had a kidney transplant in 2018 and has received regular medical treatment and care since then.

Railways Minister Piyush Goyal, who stood in for Jaitley twice before, is a possible candidate to succeed him. Amit Shah, a close aide of Modi and president of the Hindu nationalist BJP, could also be a contender, according to a Reuters report.

Modi and his cabinet are likely to be sworn into office on Thursday.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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