Arun Jaitley: The Politician, Orator & Legal Luminary No More (1952-2019)

New Delhi: Former Finance Minister and senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley passed away today at the age of 66. He was undergoing treatment at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi.

The former Minister, who was admitted to the hospital on August 9 after he complained of breathlessness and restlessness, had been put on life support and was being monitored by a multidisciplinary team of senior doctors. He also underwent dialysis on Thursday, sources said.

President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, Union Home Minister and BJP chief Amit Shah along with political leaders like Mayawati, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Nitish Kumar, Yogi Adityanath and Jay Panda visited AIIMS to enquire about Jaitley’s condition.

 

President Ram Nath Kovind, PM Narendra Modi and leaders cutting across party lines expressed condolences over the demise of the former finance minister.

Arun Jaitley Ji was a political giant, towering intellectual and legal luminary. He was an articulate leader who made a lasting contribution to India. His passing away is very saddening. Spoke to his wife Sangeeta Ji as well as son Rohan, and expressed condolences. Om Shanti.

Full of life, blessed with wit, a great sense of humour and charisma, Arun Jaitley Ji was admired by people across all sections of society. He was multi-faceted, having impeccable knowledge about India’s Constitution, history, public policy, governance and administration.

During his long political career, Arun Jaitley Ji held multiple ministerial responsibilities, which enabled him to contribute towards India’s economic growth, strengthening our defence capabilities, creating people friendly laws and enhancing trade with other nations.

BJP and Arun Jaitley Ji had an unbreakable bond. As a fiery student leader, he was at forefront of protecting our democracy during the Emergency. He became a much liked face of our Party, who could articulate the Party programmes and ideology to a wide spectrum of society.

With the demise of Arun Jaitley Ji, I have lost a valued friend, whom I have had the honour of knowing for decades. His insight on issues and nuanced understanding of matters had very few parallels. He lived well, leaving us all with innumerable happy memories. We will miss him!

–PM Narendra Modi

Deeply saddened to hear about passing away of former Union Minister Arun Jaitley ji. He was a distinguished lawyer, parliamentarian and an erudite person. His contribution to governance has been profound. Heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family, friends and followers.

– Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik

 

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik paid his last respects to the former Finance Minister in New Delhi.

 

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan got emotional while expressing grief over Jaitley’s demise.

BJP National Vice-President Jay Panda said, “I still remember the first day in Parliament, the way he (Arun Jaitley) welcomed me, the way he took me under his wings. He has been a mentor to many top leaders.”

BJD leader Shashi Bhusan Behera termed the death of Jaitley a personal loss.

Jaitley will be cremated at the Nigam Bodh Ghat in Delhi on Sunday, party sources said.

“Jaitley’s body will reach the BJP office at 10 AM on Sunday and thereafter cremation will take place at the Nigam Bodh Ghat at 2 PM,” a party official said.

A lawyer by profession but a politician at heart, Jaitley had requested PM Modi to not give him any major ‘responsibility’ after being diagnosed with kidney ailments. He stayed away from the political corridors and did not even contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. In 2018, he had undergone a kidney transplant.

Born in 1952 to Ratan Prabha and Maharaj Kishen Jaitley, known as the master strategist of BJP, took a plunge into politics during the Emergency years. He was also active in Delhi’s student politics. He graduated in commerce from Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) in 1973 and got his degree in Law four years later.

He was a member of the ABVP, the student wing of the BJP, and became the president of the Delhi University Student Union (DUSU) in 1974. During Emergency, he was kept under preventive detention first in Ambala and Tihar Jails.

Later, Jaitley pursued a career in law and practised in Delhi High Court and Supreme Court of India and joined the BJP in 1980. After taking over as the Additional Solicitor General of India in 1989 during the VP Singh government, he became a member of the party’s national executive in 1991. He joined the government in 1999 as Minister of State (MoS) for Information and Broadcasting in the Atal Bihar Vajpayee’s 13-month-old government. He led the disinvestment and commerce ministry, he was given the job of party’s official spokesperson due to his superb oratorical skills. He was inducted as a full-time Law Minister in 2003.

Jaitley first joined the Parliament as a member of Rajya Sabha in 2000 but was the leader of opposition in the House after the Manmohan Singh-led Congress government came to power. He was instrumental in raising important issues in the House on Right to Information, Women’s Reservation Bill and the Jan Lokpal Bill.

He unsuccessfully contested the 2014 elections from Amritsar but re-inducted to the government through the Upper House. Jaitley handled important portfolios like Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Ministry of Defence when Manohar Parrikar was moved to head the Goa government, besides handling the all important position of Finance Minister.

From a students leader to the president of DUSU to becoming the Minister of Finance, Arun Jaitley was an able orator, a mass leader and an able administrator.

Later, Jaitley pursued a career in law and practiced in Delhi High Court and Supreme Court of India and joined the BJP in 1980. After taking over as the Additional Solicitor General of India in 1989 during the VP Singh government, he became a member of the party’s national executive in 1991. He joined the government in 1999 as Minister of State (MoS) for Information and Broadcasting in the Atal Bihar Vajpayee’s 13-month-old government.

He led the disinvestment and commerce ministry, he was given the job of party’s official spokesperson due to his superb oratorial skills. He was inducted as a full-time Law Minister in 2003.