New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that he had never thought he would have to pay homage to younger friend and former finance minister Arun Jaitley.

"I never thought a day will come when I will have to pay tributes to my younger friend. We were friends for so long but I could not pay my last respects to him. There will always be a burden on my heart because of it," Modi said at a condolence meeting organised by BJP here.

Modi was away on a foreign visit when jaitley died and was cremated last month.

The 'Shradhanjali' programme was held at the weight lifting hall in the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. Jaitley's wife Sangita, daughter Sonali and son Rohan were present on the occasion.

Praising Jaitley in his speech, Modi added, "He had a large personality, which can be ascertained by the fact about what was said post his demise by people across the country. We have lost a very unique and very talented person."

"I will always feel at loss after his death because he was an encyclopedia on Indian history, the administration which he used to tell us about the history and guide us towards the final decision," Modi said.

The Prime Minister also got emotional towards the end of his speech and said it was a big personal loss for him and the BJP.

The 'Shradhanjali' programme was held at the weight lifting hall in the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

The former minister's family members were also present at the event.

Several diplomats and dignitaries were in attendance including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and leaders from the Opposition.

Members of Vichar Manch which includes Sangh Parivar, Marg Darshak Mandal and BJP's Rashtriya Karya Samiti Sadasya were also present at the condolence meet.

Jaitley passed away in New Delhi on August 24 at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). He was 66. He was cremated with full state honours at the Nigambodh Ghat in the national capital on August 25.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta