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Indian ex-finance minister Arun Jaitley hospitalised with breathing difficulties

Indian ex-finance minister Arun Jaitley hospitalised with breathing difficulties
FILE PHOTO: Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley speaks at a news conference in New Delhi, India, January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Saumya Khandelwal/File Photo -
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Saumya Khandelwal(Reuters)
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NEWDELHI (Reuters) – Former Indian finance minister Arun Jaitley, a close ally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was admitted to hospital on Friday after complaining of breathing difficulties.

Jaitley, 66, a diabetic, stepped down in January this year due to ill health before elections that returned Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to power.

“He is currently undergoing treatment in the intensive care unit under the supervision of a multidisciplinary team of doctors,” a statement from the All India Institute Medical Sciences said. Modi visited Jaitley in hospital on Friday.

Jaitley’s health issues worsened after he underwent a kidney transplant in May last year. He also had to skip the presentation of the interim budget in February 2018 when he was in hospital in the United States for cancer treatment.

The lawyer-turned-politician also had triple bypass heart surgery when he was 52.

Jaitley’s urbane and articulate manner helped him win friends across party lines and industry, leading to the enactment of a bankruptcy code and a national goods and services tax law that had languished for almost 20 years.

But he had a mixed record in economic management. Though inflation hit a record low during his tenure, growth sagged from 8% to 5.8% during the first three months of 2019.

(Reporting by Manoj Kumar and Aftab Ahmed; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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