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ET Awards: Arun Jaitley always put country first, says Sangeeta Jaitley

The late minister, who was also an ardent cricket lover, set high ethical standards and had an ability to build accord across political divides, say his wife, ministers and businessmen. Sangeeta Jaitley, who was making a rare public appearance after the demise of her husband on August 24, was accompanied by her daughter, Sonali.

ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Dec 02, 2019, 07.36 AM IST|Original: Dec 02, 2019, 06.47 AM IST
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He always “kept his country first” and the second thing he loved was “the high quality of ethics”, Sangeeta Jaitley said.
"Thank you for recognising what my husband has done in public service… I accept it on his behalf. Wherever he is, he must be a very happy man today,” former finance minister Arun Jaitley’s widow Sangeeta Jaitley said while accepting a special award conferred posthumously in recognition of a lifetime of public service.

He always “kept his country first” and the second thing he loved was “the high quality of ethics”, she said in her tribute to her late husband to a standing ovation from the gathering of the country’s top business leaders and senior politicians on Saturday, as she received the award from Union home minister Amit Shah.

Sangeeta Jaitley, who was making a rare public appearance after the demise of her husband on August 24, was accompanied by her daughter, Sonali.

“I am glad he has passed it on (love for country and high ethical values) to our children. At least these two things will be carried forward by my son and daughter,” she said. “While waiting to receive the award I was greeted by so many people, all due to his good will,” she added.

Earlier, addressing the nearly 500-strong gathering, Amit Shah, finance minister Nirmala Seetharaman as well as railways, commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal cited the critical contributions to public life and governance made by the late minister in a political career spanning nearly five decades.

“He was extremely able and an asset to the government. I interacted quite a lot with him during the GST transition time,” said Adi Godrej, chairman of the Godrej Group.

To peers and friends, Jaitley was a bon vivant, noted for his love of cricket and the ability to build accord across political divides. “He could be as friendly with those in the opposition as in his own party – that was his greatest quality,” said Anu Aga, parliamentarian and director, Thermax.

His daughter Sonali said that despite his ill health and “against his doctors’ advice, he insisted on attending ET Awards (in 2018) and made it to the ceremony”.

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