Confusion over who will present budget 

Arun Jaitley flies to US for medical check-up
Last Updated 23 January 2019, 12:29 IST

Confusion grew over who will present the vote on account of Modi government, which is in the last year of its tenure, as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley unexpectedly left for the US on Sunday night.

News website The Wire reported that Jaitley flew to New York for treatment of soft tissue cancer in his thigh.

Though there was no official on record to respond on the news report, a source close to the finance minister, speaking on the condition of anonymity, ruled out the contention expressed in the report and told DH that Jaitley had gone to New York for a regular follow-up check of his wife, who had undergone an operation there in the past.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi also sent his and his party's best wishes to Jaitley.

"I'm upset to hear Arun Jaitley Ji is not well. We fight him on a daily basis for his ideas. However, I and the Congress party send him our love and best wishes for a speedy recovery. We are with you and your family 100% during this difficult period Mr Jaitley (sic)," Rahul tweeted.

Only last week, Jaitley was named the publicity head of the BJP for the general elections.

He is also slated to be present at the BJP-led NDA government's sixth and last budget on February 1, which will be an interim Budget, seeking Parliament nod for government spending for first four months of 2019-20 fiscal year beginning April.

This is Jaitley's first overseas visit since his kidney disease was confirmed in April last year.

At a media briefing of the Union Cabinet, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal refused to answer on who will present the vote on account.

He got up from the briefing asking if there are any questions related to Cabinet decisions when a reporter asked him who would present the vote on account this time since Jaitley has left for abroad.

A finance ministry official separately said, “FM is expected to be back by this weekend. Therefore no one else has been given charge of the ministry for this period.”

The official also pointed out that both ministers of state for finance are also holding their position.

66-year-old Jaitley had a kidney transplant operation and follow-up check-ups at AIIMS last year.

After having undergone renal surgery on May 14, 2018, Jaitley was out of finance ministry for over three months during which Railway and Coal Minister Goyal, held the additional charge of the finance ministry. Jaitley returned as Finance Minister on August 23 last year.

(Published 16 January 2019, 13:14 IST)

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