The former Minister wore many hats in public life — politician, lawyer, cricket administrator, raconteur and the quintessential Delhi insider — who loved to hold court in banter and good humour with his legion of friends and acquaintances. For his party, the BJP, he was the man who articulated the party line best, in both Hindi and English, the rather affable public face of the party.
His stints at various Ministries, in both late Prime Minister Vajpayee’s government and Narendra Modi’s government saw him as a dependable colleague. For many who knew him personally, his warmth in inter personal interactions across party lines and his many, now legendary stories and
on dits about the who’s who of Lutyen’s Delhi marked him out as a social force quite apart from his political heft.
Mr. Jaitley, shot to fame during the struggle against the Emergency in 1975, having been elected president of the Delhi University Student’s Union in 1974 (as a member of the RSS affiliated student body Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad), and was one of the first to have been arrested (he stayed in jail for 19 months) as part of the crackdown against political activists. He joined the BJP in 1980.
His early career in the BJP was a steady rise, including an amalgamation of his legal career with his political one, where, in 1989, he was appointed Additional Solicitor General by the V.P. Singh government and did much of the paper work for the legal case on Bofors. He held many important portfolios in the Vajpayee government from 1999, including that of law and justice, shipping, information and broadcasting and commerce and industry.
Under the Modi government too, he held as many portfolios including finance, defence, corporate affairs and information and broadcasting, although he lost the only Lok Sabha poll he ever contested, from Amristar, in 2014. As Finance Minister, his achievements include the implementation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. He was also at the helm when the controversial decision to demonetise high value currency notes was taken in November 2016.
Arun Jaitley. File
His popularity however, was never as high as when he was spokesperson for the BJP from 2002 (along with being general secretary) and his briefings to the media and setting down of the party line for every major issue continued till the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Among the most repeated stories by him was the advice he was tendered by Delhi's then Chief Executive Councillor Jag Pravesh Chandra in the 1980s. He told a young Jaitley, whom he had taken a liking to, to never set down any difference of opinion with his own party in writing, no angry letters, or written sulks. He said that it only proved that one’s opinion was not taken seriously in one’s own party, something Mr. Jaitley said he followed to a tee.
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.
The years Mr. Jaitley spent as Leader of the Opposition (between 2009-2014) were not only important in his emergence as a good orator and an important mover behind the women’s reservation and Lokpal Bills, but also championed the cause of now Mr. Modi in Delhi. Mr. Jaitley was the man with the inside view, having done his schooling (St. Xaviers)and higher education (Sriram College of Commerce and Law Faculty, Delhi University) in Delhi. His ability to make friends across the aisle was legendary as were his
bon mots and witticisms. He is survived by his wife Sangita, son Rohan and daughter Sonali.