Arun Jaitley : The BJP’s trusted troubleshooter

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on August 24, 2019

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley   -  THE HINDU

Former Finance Minister, leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, legal luminary and a popular face of the BJP, Arun Jaitley was the saffron party’s troubleshooter for about three decades. Jaitley, who began his public life as an ABVP activist, was jailed during the Emergency under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act. His leadership qualities captured the attention of then Jan Sangh leaders, including former prime minister AB Vajpayee and senior BJP leader LK Advani.

In 1989-90, during the VP Singh regime, which was supported by the BJP from the outside, Jaitley represented the Government in crucial cases, such as the Bofors case, as Additional Solicitor General. He served the BJP in different capacities both at the organisational and administrative levels.

In the AB Vajpayee government, he was Minister of State with Independent charge in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. An open votary of a liberal economy, Jaitley was given additional charge of the Department of Disinvestment in 2000. He was also given independent charge of the Ministry of Law, Justice and Company Affairs and in 2002, Vajpayee promoted him as a Cabinet Minister. He held the charge of the Ministry of Shipping and Ministry of Commerce, too, for some time.

Read more: Arun Jaitley (1952-2019): A much-beloved politician

A master orator, Jaitley helped the BJP with his oratory skills in and outside Parliament. As a Parliamentarian, he was effective as a lawmaker too. His colleagues in the Rajya Sabha remember him as a keen participant in the proceedings of several key committees. He was in the Committee of Privileges, and in the Joint Committee that examined the constitutional and legal position relating to Offices of Profit, as well as the Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha on the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill. He steered the discussions and gave valuable inputs in framing laws such as the Lokpal Bill.

As leader of the Opposition, he ensured that corruption scandals and other issues against the UPA were raised in Parliament and outside. The UPA leadership struggled to counter his arguments.

Also read: Arun Jaitley: An unforgettable stint as India’s Finance Minister

In 2013, when the BJP decided to project Narendra Modi for the post of Prime Minister, Jaitley stood with the majority decision like a rock despite opposition from his mentors LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi. He was a key figure in the first Modi Government. He served as Finance Minister for the full-term and also served in the ministries of Defence and Information and Broadcasting briefly. When he was undergoing treatment, he continued as a minister without portfolio. Jaitley was leader of the Rajya Sabha during the entire term. He chose not to become a minister in the second Modi government due to his deteriorating health.

Also read: The new govt will miss the reformist Finance Minister Jaitley

Published on August 24, 2019

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