Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal had deep respect for former Union finance minister and veteran BJP leader Arun Jaitley, who passed away on Saturday at the age of 66.

As a sign of his profound respect, Sonowal even bowed down to touch Jaitely’s feet in New Delhi when he was central minister in 2015.

Although Sonowal faced flak from Congress for his gesture of deep respect for the BJP stalwart, Sonowal maintained that it was a part of culture, tradition and religion to seek blessings of the elders by touching their feet.

Expressing grief over Jaitley’s demise, Sonowal on Saturday said he is deeply saddened to hear the news.

“I am deeply saddened to hear about the passing away of former Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Ji. He was an inspiration and guide and his contribution towards shaping the growth story of new India is unparalleled,” Sonowal said in a statement.

“His death is an irreparable loss to the country which marks the end of a glorious chapter in Indian politics,” he added.

Terming late  Jaitley as a visionary leader and an outstanding parliamentarian, the chief minister said the former union minister was the architect of many major reforms in the Indian economy.

“Initiatives like demonetization and introduction of GST would always remain as hallmark of his tenure as finance minister of the country,” Sonowal added.

The chief minister also said that late Jaitley left his profound mark in leading the ministries of defence, corporate affairs, industry & commerce and law during the last five years of Narendra Modi led union government.

The chief minister also prayed for eternal peace of the departed soul and conveyed his empathy to the bereaved family members.

While taking part in a public meeting at Hojai today, Sonowal offered his tributes to the former finance minister.

He also called on the youth to follow the ideals of Jaitley and contribute to the nation building process wholeheartedly.

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