Brilliant lawyer, astute politician, Modi's go-to man - Arun Jaitley
New Delhi, Aug 24: An accomplished lawyer, great articulator, PM Modi's chief troubleshooter and go-to man - Arun Jaitley- is no more.
Jaitley's contribution to the BJP in over two decades is immense. A lawyer by profession, Jaitley held cabinet portfolios both in the Vajpayee government and Narendra Modi government's first term.
Jaitley, considered as one of the most important strategists of the BJP, was allotted two heavyweight departments of finance and defence when Narendra Modi government was sworn in on May 26, 2014. Later Manohar Parrikar took charge of the defence ministry. In 2017, when Parrikar returned to Goa as chief minister, the defence portfolio returned to Jaitley till Nirmala Sitharaman was sworn in as a minister.
Historic economic initiatives like demonetisation and implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) were undertaken when Jaitley was the finance minister.
After BJP's landslide victory in 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Jaitley said that he did not not want to be part of the government or hold any post, as he wanted to focus on his health.
PM Modi then personally visited Jaitley to try and convince the veteran leader to change his decision. Jaitley is then said to have explained that he must give attention to his health which had been deteriorating for the last 2-3 years.
Arun Jaitley was always considered to be quite close to Narendra Modi.
He is believed to have played a major role in the anointment of Modi first as Gujarat chief minister in 2001 and subsequently as BJP's prime ministerial candidate in 2013. When Modi found himself on a weak wicket post-Gujarat riots, Jaitley is believed to have provided the much-needed backing.
Jaitley was a member of the national executive of BJP since 1991. He became the spokesperson of the BJP during the period preceding the 1999 general election.
In 1999, after the Atal Bihari Vajpayee led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) came to power, he was appointed Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting (Independent Charge). He was also appointed MoS Disinvestment (Independent Charge), a new ministry created for the first time. He took over the additional charge of the Ministry of Law, Justice and Company Affairs on 23 July, 2000 following the resignation of Ram Jethmalani as the Union Cabinet Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs.
Jaitley as Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha during UPA regime:
Jaitley was chosen as the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha on 3 June, 2009 by L K Advani. In his capacity as the leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, he played a vital role during the talks of the Women Reservation Bill in the Rajya Sabha and also supported Anna Hazare for the Jan Lokpal Bill. He successfully introduced the eighty-fourth amendment to the Constitution of India and the 91st amendment to the Constitution in 2004 penalising defections.
Jaitley as a lawyer:
Jaitley was practising law before the Supreme Court and several High Courts in the country since 1987. Arun Jaitley's contribution to the BJP as a lawyer is considered quite significant. He had defended the party and its leaders in various courts.
Reports say that Jaitley defended Modi in the courts in the Gujarat riots cases. He also came to Amit Shah's rescue in the controversial Sohrabuddin and Ishrat Jahan encounter killings. Jaitley either personally appeared in the courts or supervised the battery of lawyers defending Modi and Amit Shah in the courts of law.
Jaitley was appointed Additional Solicitor General by the VP Singh government in 1989 and did the paperwork for the investigations into the Bofors scandal.
Jaitley had also appeared on behalf of giant multinational corporations such as PepsiCo against Coca-Cola and in various other cases. Given his political duties as Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Jaitley stopped practising law in June 2009.