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Always a leader: Arun Jaitley’s juniors and college principal recall fond memories

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New Delhi, Aug 25: Arun Jaitley was a great orator and born leader whose "heart was with the SRCC" - that is how the principal and his juniors remembered the famous and beloved alumnus of the college.

He was the Shri Ram College of Commerce president and later went on to become the president of Delhi University Students' Union in the 1970s.

Always a leader: Arun Jaitley’s juniors and college principal recall fond memories

SRCC college principal Simrit Kaur said as the Governing Body member, he would be present in all the meetings and had not missed a single meeting.

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"His interest and his heart was with SRCC. We had our annual day this year and he was there. He was with us for close to two hours. His family would also talk about his love for the SRCC. He always supported us, and with his passing away there is a void that can never be filled," she told PTI.

Kaur said she would interact with Jaitley on a daily basis on the college initiatives.

"Once, we were deliberating on how to bring counselling services for students -- for career and psychological. Within a minute, he said, go for online as well as offline counselling. It is because of him that we have 24X7 counselling services.

"He wanted to do everything for students. There was a time when we were trying to get air-conditioners installed around 10 years ago. As a member of the alumni association, he connected us with people. Ours is the only college which is fully air-conditioned," she said, crediting Jaitley for it.

Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) president Sunil Sethi recalled Jaitley as the senior who saved him from ragging in college.

"He was my senior in St Xavier's School and then in college also, he was two years senior to me. When he was in the third year, I was in the first year. We were in the same debating team and our team would always win because of his oratory skills. He was such a great orator," Sethi told PTI.

He said that while Jaitley could speak extempore on any subject, others had to make notes.
Sethi said he was a born leader and interested in everything -- from cricket to politics.

"He would also be interested in cricket, even when he was not in the DDCA. There were so many times when we went to the Feroz Shah Kotla ground to watch matches. He would always remember which test match was won by which team and other such details," Sethi recalled.

Sethi recalled that he had last met Jaitley a few months ago at a party hosted by Sidharth Luthra for Justice Arjan Sikri after his retirement.

"He was advised to keep a safe distance from everyone since he did not want to catch an infection. His body was fragile. Even when he was going through this, he made time to come there," he told PTI.

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Sethi said he was the president of the "Rotaract Club" and they would go out for intellectual meetings.

"He had this leadership quality even before he became DUSU president. Recently Gulshan Grover (who was also in SRCC) had launched his book. We were to go to his (Jaitley's) house to give it around July 28 but we did not go as he was sick and we thought it would not look nice," he said.

He had a "rational" approach, and could appeal to any section of the society, Sethi said adding he had a "great sense of humour" with an infectious smile.

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    "He had not forgotten his friends and he would call me 'czar of fashion'. He was well-versed in Hindi and English. He wanted me to become his joint secretary, but I was always with him, even during his campaigning," Sethi recalled.

    Jaitley, 66, died at AIIMS here on Saturday after being admitted on August 9 following complaints of breathlessness and restlessness.

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