Arun Jaitely: Requiem for the Prodigal son of India

Dr VK Bahuguna

(The author is a retired civil servant)

On 24th August 2019 when the country was celebrating Janmashthami one of the prodigal son of India in Arun Jaitely left for his heavenly aboad after a protracted battle with illness.  At the age of 66 when most of the politicians in India are considered mature enough to soldier top constitutional post the passing away of Arun Jaitely at this relatively young age is a severe blow to the intelligentsia and politics of understanding in this country. What was remarkable about this leader was the fact that he kept his razor sharp mind active through his blogs till the very end of his life knowing very well that his days are numbered; he never showed any inkling of nervousness in his writing and kept on serving the BJP his party, the government and the country with aplomb. It is a matter of sadness that the BJP in less than 2 years has lost its four top articulate leaders in Arun Jaitely, Shusma Swaraj, Manohar Parikar and Ananth Kumar all at an young age.

Arun Jaitely joined BJP during his college days in early seventies through Akhil Bhartiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP) when most of his peers were making a beeline before the congress offices. He doggedly fought and went to jail during emergency. Later for many years on he became one of the best articulate lawyers seen in Supreme Court and Delhi High Court. A self made man who rose in politics solely due to sheer merit, intelligence and his persuasive ways in dealing with conflicting issues and over the years he became an indispensible part of BJP's politics. His talent was recognized by his peers and contemporaries including his opponents. 

He was deeply involved  in supporting his friend Narendra Modi and Amit Shah when all were determined to finish them off in the aftermath of Godhra train carnage and during their incarceration in Sorabhddin and other cases slapped by the UPA regime through Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). He wrote a detailed letter as leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha to the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh narrating how the CBI is being used to target Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. His erudite narration in his letter of misuse of CBI ultimately had an impact but not much considering the bias in the entire establishment but it expose the fact that a fake case is being pursued vigorously to finish the career of future Prime Minister and Home Minister of India. Ironically today the wheel of time had run a full circle and P Chidambaram is facing a music when he finds himself in the same position he brought these two politicians through CBI cases. 

Arun Jaitely had etched his name in the history of BJP and the country when his role will be described in promoting Narendra Modi as the BJP's face for the 2014 Parliamentary elections. Together with Manohar Parikar he stitched the story with a vision and persuasive manner to declare Modi as the BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate and the rest is history. It was his eloquence, oratory and irrefutable arguments that silenced the critics on this matter. For a long time he was the chief troubleshooter of the BJP and Prime Minister Modi during his first stint in office and will miss his wise counsels as he was the man on whom he used to fall back upon to have an articulated voice with wisdom. 

The Goods and Services Tax (GST), implementation will be remembered as his greatest gift to the tax structure and financial reforms in country post independence. He in his masterly style of forging bridges with opposition was able to synchronize the diverse interests of opposition and BJP rules states and made GST implementation smooth though several hiccups were later on taken on board.  As a Finance Minister he solved the problem of insolvency of the Public Sector Banks and finalization of Bankruptcy code not a mean achievements when the Indian Banks were involved in multi crore scams all over. 

This write had an insight into the wisdom of Arun Jaitely in 2004 when he was Law Minister in the Atal Behari Vajpayee government and the writer was Inspector General of Forests in the Ministry of Environment and Forests. There was a proposal at the behest of PMO just before the Madhya Pradesh and Lok Sabha elections to frame a road map for correcting the historical injustice done to the tribal people when the reserved forests were declared. Mr. Jaitely himself corrected the note of the Ministry in presence of Prime Minister and made the note not only legally sound but had a vision to see that this road map does not become a tool in increasing the encroachments on the forest lands. Such was the tall vision of this man who could foresee the events unfolding effortlessly. Later on after the defeat of BJP in 2004 the UPA government enacted the Forest Right Act 2006 and today it has become a political narrative for all parties.

 Arun Jaitely like all other politicians must have neglected his health and had undergone avoidable surgery to remove fat from his body and he never recovered properly from his kidney transplant. Today the nation got the sad news of passing away of this prodigal son of India. Arun Jaitely the tallest and brightest leader born post independence of BJP in Delhi will be remembered for a long time and till BJP will be remembered in Indian history for that he had written his role very well to be etched forever. Rest in peace.(930 words)

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