Jaitley comes to RS first time after kidney transplant, greeted with thumping of desks

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New Delhi : Members of the Rajya Sabha on Thursday warmly welcomed Union Minister Arun Jaitley who came to the upper House for the first time after the kidney transplant.

All the members cutting across party lines greeted Jaitley, who is also the Leader of House in the Rajya Sabha, by thumping their desks. Jaitley subsequently cast his vote in the election for Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.

Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu requested the MPs to not go too close to Jaitley or touch him, presumably as per the medical advice.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who arrived in the House later, tried to shake hands with Jaitley, but the latter just greeted him with folded hands.

It was Jaitley's first public appearance since undergoing a kidney transplant on May 14. However, he has been active on the social media of late, writing blogs presenting the government's viewpoint on various political and financial issues.

He also addressed via tele-conference an event to mark the first anniversary of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) last month.

He is likely to resume work from next week.

Speaking in the House following the election of National Democratic Alliance (NDA)-supported candidate Harivansh Narayan Singh to the post of Deputy Chairman, Jaitley congratulated Harivansh and wished him well.

In a lighter vein, Jaitley said: "Those who formulated the traditions of this House must have thought something in granting Deputy Chairperson a seat right beside the Leader of Opposition. Perhaps the arrangement is such so that while you (Harivansh) sit beside (Ghulam Nabi) Azad saheb, you look at us."

The members laughed and thumped the desks at the witty observation.