Arun Jaitley, born on December 28, 1952, was a towering figure in Indian politics and a key member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). A statesman known for his legal acumen, economic prowess, and unwavering commitment to public service, Jaitley held several crucial portfolios during his political career. In this article, we will explore the life, career, and remarkable contributions of Arun Jaitley to Indian politics and governance.
Arun Jaitley was born in Delhi to a lawyer father. He pursued his education in law, obtaining an LL.B. degree from the University of Delhi. His early education laid the foundation for his successful career in law and politics. Jaitley's brilliance as a student and his gift for oratory quickly gained him recognition.
Before entering mainstream politics, Arun Jaitley enjoyed a thriving legal career. He practised law in various courts, including the Supreme Court of India, where he earned a reputation as a skilled advocate.
Jaitley's early political involvement was with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). His association with the RSS and the JP Movement during the Emergency in the 1970s laid the foundation for his subsequent role in Indian politics.
Minister of Commerce and Industry (1998-2004): Arun Jaitley served as the Union Minister of Commerce and Industry during the Vajpayee government's tenure. His tenure was marked by efforts to liberalise the Indian economy, encourage foreign investment, and promote trade.
Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha (2009-2014): Jaitley was a prominent leader in the Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Parliament) and served as the Leader of the Opposition during the UPA-II government. His incisive debating skills and comprehensive understanding of various issues made him a formidable presence in the house.
Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs (2014-2019): During the first term of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Jaitley was appointed as the Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs. He played a pivotal role in introducing economic reforms, including the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), measures to boost foreign investment, and initiatives to improve India's Ease of Doing Business ranking.
Legal and Constitutional Expertise: Arun Jaitley was known for his legal acumen and his contributions to the legal fraternity. He played a significant role in drafting the National Democratic Alliance's Common Minimum Program in 1998 and contributed to crucial constitutional amendments.
Arun Jaitley's political career was not without its share of challenges and controversies. His tenure as Finance Minister witnessed a few economic challenges, and his role in the debate around the Rafale aircraft deal led to political confrontations.
Arun Jaitley entered into matrimony with Sangeeta, the daughter of the former Jammu and Kashmir finance minister, Girdhari Lal Dogra, on 24 May 1982. The couple was blessed with two children, Rohan and Sonali. Both of Arun Jaitley's children pursued careers in law. Additionally, Arun Jaitley had two siblings.
Health struggles ultimately marked the latter part of Arun Jaitley's life, leading to his eventual passing in 2019. In 2005, he underwent a coronary artery bypass surgery following a diagnosis of high blood pressure. By 2014, facing health concerns, he opted for a gastric bypass surgery to reduce his weight as he weighed 117 kilograms (258 lb). The surgery was considered a practical choice due to his long-standing battle with diabetes. In May 2018, Jaitley underwent a kidney transplant operation.
In February 2019, reports surfaced in the media that Jaitley was diagnosed with a rare form of soft-tissue sarcoma and was receiving medical treatment in the United States, although it was initially described as a "regular medical check-up." His health took a significant turn on 9 August, when he was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi (AIIMS), due to complaints of "breathlessness." Subsequently, on 17 August, it was revealed that he had been placed on life-support. As days passed, Arun Jaitley's health continued to deteriorate, and sadly, he passed away on 24 August 2019 at the age of 66.
Arun Jaitley's legacy in Indian politics is one of brilliance, dedication, and unwavering commitment to public service. As a legal luminary, economic visionary, and political statesman, he played a significant role in shaping India's economic and political landscape. His passing in 2019 marked the end of an era in Indian politics, leaving behind a lasting legacy of excellence and dedication to the nation. Arun Jaitley's contributions continue to be celebrated and remembered as an integral part of India's modern political history.