Finance minister suffering from kidney ailment

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is suffering from a kidney ailment and may have to undergo a surgery.

Late on Thursday evening, Jaitley tweeted, “I am being treated for kidney related problems & certain infections that I have contracted. I am therefore currently working from controlled environment at home. The future course of my treatment would be determined by the doctors treating me.”

 Jaitley, 65, is undergoing diagnostic tests and doctors have so far indicated that it was a kidney-related ailment. The minister, however, has not yet been hospitalised but has been advised to avoid going out in public for fear of infection.

He has not been attending office since Monday but he is clearing files from his residence, sources said. He even skipped taking oath after being re-elected as Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh. Fifty three out of the 58 newly-elected or re-elected members took oath of office during the last two days. Jaitley is one of the five members who hasn’t taken oath.

He also cancelled a visit to London next week for annual economic talks, two government officials said. Jaitley was due to meet UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond at the India-UK economic dialogue and deliver a talk on “Looking Ahead to 2022: India’s Global Vision” at Chatham House, a policy think tank. The organisers of the talk said the programme has been cancelled without giving any reason.

Sources said Jaitley’s present co­n­dition may be a fallout of the bariatric surgery he had undergone soon after the BJP government came to power at the Centre in 2014. He underwent the surgery to treat weight gain that he suffered because of a long-standing diabetic condition. That surgery was first performed at Max Hospital, but he then had to be shifted to AIIMS because of complications.

Sources said doctors from AIIMS are attending to Jaitley at his residence now. A final call is yet to be taken on whether a kidney transplant is required or not. Depending on doctors advice, he may be admitted to the Cardio-Neuro Tower at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here. The centre is housed in a separate building and is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment.

The minister, who suffers from chronic diabetes, had heart surgery several years ago. He is a key member of the Modi cabinet and presented his fifth and the present NDA government's final full budget on February 1. The Budget was last month approved by the Lok Sabha without a discussion and it is not listed to be taken up in Rajya Sabha before the current session of Parliament ends on Friday, thereby not requiring his presence for a reply.