Arun Jaitley giving away the Man of the Match award to Javagal Srinath at the Ferozeshah Kotla Ground in Delhi after an India-Zimbabwe match.
Arun Jaitley will always be acknowledged for his seminal work as a cricket administrator with a vision. When he took over as the president of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) in 1999, he inherited a legacy of corruption and ineptitude, which he endeavoured to eradicate.
“All I seek is support from the cricketers,” he had remarked to this reporter soon after he had assumed power at the Ferozeshah Kotla. Jaitley soon realised that it was not a smooth road as he had envisaged.
His elevation to the top brass of the DDCA sent out positive signals in the Capital’s cricket fraternity. Former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi welcomed Jaitley with open arms and called him an administrator with cricket “close to his heart”. The expectations from Jaitley were high, given his reputation as a political and legal heavyweight.
Jaitley, a medium-pacer in his college days at the Shri Ram College of Commerce, lost little time in dealing with the challenges at the Kotla. The perennial issues that plagued Delhi cricket — corruption and nepotism in selections at the junior level — were on Jaitley’s radar. He issued strict instructions to selectors of all age groups and assured them of strong backing from the administration.
The message at the Kotla was clear when he was at the helm. Cricket and cricketers were the priority. “I want to establish a cricket culture. Delhi has produced some of the greatest of players and the stadium should reflect and document their achievements,” was his view. The stadium became his ambitious project and hope rose among cricket lovers that finally the Capital would have a stadium befitting its status.
Arun Jaitley, India's former Minister of Finance, died on August 24 after prolonged illness. He was 66 years old.
Arun Jaitley's parents migrated to Delhi from Lahore. His father, Maharaj Kishen Jaitley, was a lawyer. His mother, Ratan Prabha, was a homemaker who devoted her free time to social work. He has two elder sisters.
The veteran leader's political life and legal career spanned more than 40 years.
In this photo, Arun Jaitley is sworn in as a Cabinet Minister by President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in New Delhi on January 29, 2003.
A senior member of the BJP, Arun Jaitley was the Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs between 2014 and 2019 under the prime ministership of Narendra Modi.
He also served as the Minister of Defence in 2014 and 2017 as also the Minister of Information and Broadcasting from 2014 to 2016.
While he was the Finance Minister, key decisions such as demonetisation, launch of the GST and introduction of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code were taken.
He held the portfolios of Commerce and Industry, Law and Justice, and Information and Broadcasting in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.
He joined the BJP in 1980, strategising and taking on important party roles. He became the national spokesperson of the party.
Arun Jaitley was the Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha in 2009, when Manmohan Singh was the Prime Minister.
In this 2012 picture, Arun Jaitley is seen with the then Union Minister for Commerce and Textiles Anand Sharma.
In his capacity as Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Jaitley made vital contributions in discussions on the Women Reservation Bill and supported the Jan Lokpal Bill. Regarding disruptions in Parliament, he said, "There are occasions when obstruction in Parliament brings greater benefits to the country."
He contested the 2014 elections from Amritsar, but lost to Congress' Amarinder Singh. He was a Member of Parliament of Rajya Sabha for Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh.
Arun Jaitley graduated in commerce from Shri Ram College of Commerce, New Delhi. He was a law graduate from the University of Delhi.
Arun Jaitleyis seen in this picture leading the Delhi University Students' Union election campaign in August 1974. He went on to become the DUSU president.
He was an Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) student activist during his college years.
Arun Jaitley prominently took part in the movement launched by Raj Narain and Jayaprakash Narayan in 1973 against corruption.
He was under preventive detention for a period of 19 months when Emergency was proclaimed in the country, during 1975-77.
In 1977, he was national convener of the Loktantric Yuva Morcha, which campaigned for the Janata Party in the 1977 General elections. His work earned him the Delhi ABVP president post. He was later made the All India Secretary of the ABVP.
Jaitley started his legal practice from 1977. He was designated as a Senior Advocate by the Delhi High Court in 1990.
He was appointed Additional Solicitor General by the V.P. Singh government.
In the photo, Arun Jaitley is seen with former Solicitor General of India Ranjit Kumar and former Attorney General of India Mukul Rohatgi at Lodhi Garden in New Delhi.
Arun Jaitley is seen with Pakistan Ambassador to India Aziz Ahmad Khan, inspecting the Feroz Shah Kotla ground in New Delhi.
Jaitley was the vice-president of the BCCI from the North Zone. He was also the president of the Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) between 1999 and 2012.
Jaitley has been ailing for a while. He could not present the 2018-19 Union Budget and the 2019-20 Interim Budget due to poor health. He did not contest the Lok Sabha elections 2019 for the same reason.
He was hospitalised at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi last week.
Arun Jaitley is survived by his wife and children.
Jaitley married Sangeeta Dogra, daughter of former Jammu and Kashmir finance minister Girdhari Lal Dogra, in 1982. Their children, Rohan and Sonali, are both lawyers.
Jaitley, a cricket lover to the core, using the experience from his travels to England, worked to improve the infrastructure at the Kotla. “I want Kotla to boast of a reputation of a Lord’s. It can be done. I want every spectator to be seated comfortably and every seat accounted for. We must have a Long Room and create an atmosphere the Delhi cricketers can take pride in when playing at their home ground,” he had told a group of journalists when announcing the plans for the new stadium. Sadly, the stadium did not live up to his expectations. “Some of his close aides let him down,” said a former cricketer.
Win after 16 years
Cricket in Delhi improved during Jaitley’s tenure. After a gap of 16 years, Delhi won the Ranji Trophy in 2008. It was essentially because of the freedom that he gave the selectors to “fearlessly” pick the team purely on merit. This after he had sacked an entire senior selection committee comprising Anil Jain, Bantu Singh, Vivek Razdan and Sunil Khanna for “unfairly” picking a player in 2006. Jaitley would never tolerate “indiscipline”.
As former India opener Virender Sehwag said, “Arun ji was a gem. He backed the players. Did so much for the needy cricketers. Helped them get jobs, met their medical expenses, organised travel by air for all age groups. He was a players’ man in the top seat of DDCA. Delhi cricket and cricketers owe a lot to him. In his death, Delhi cricket has lost its most dedicated supporter.”
Jaitley, after 14 years at the DDCA, decided to “move on” to assume bigger responsibilities in the Central government.