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Arun Jaitley (28 December 1952 – 24 August 2019)[3] was an Indian politician and attorney. A member of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Jaitley served as the Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs of the Government of India from 2014 to 2019.

Arun Jaitley
Arun Jaitley
Jaitley in 2015
Minister of Finance
In office
26 May 2014 – 30 May 2019
Prime MinisterNarendra Modi
Preceded byP. Chidambaram
Succeeded byNirmala Sitharaman
Minister of Corporate Affairs
In office
26 May 2014 – 30 May 2019
Prime MinisterNarendra Modi
Preceded bySachin Pilot
Succeeded byNirmala Sitharaman
Minister of Defence
In office
13 March 2017 – 3 September 2017
Prime MinisterNarendra Modi
Preceded byManohar Parrikar
Succeeded byNirmala Sitharaman
In office
26 May 2014 – 9 November 2014
Prime MinisterNarendra Modi
Preceded byA. K. Antony
Succeeded byManohar Parrikar
Minister of Information and Broadcasting
In office
9 November 2014 – 5 July 2016
Prime MinisterNarendra Modi
Preceded byPrakash Javadekar
Succeeded byVenkaiah Naidu
Leader of the Opposition, Rajya Sabha
In office
3 June 2009 – 26 May 2014
Preceded byJaswant Singh
Succeeded byGhulam Nabi Azad
Minister of Law and Justice
In office
29 July 2003 – 22 May 2004
Prime MinisterAtal Bihari Vajpayee
Preceded byJana Krishnamurthi
Succeeded byH. R. Bhardwaj
In office
7 November 2000 – 1 July 2002
Prime MinisterAtal Bihari Vajpayee
Preceded byRam Jethmalani
Succeeded byJana Krishnamurthi
Leader of the House, Rajya Sabha
In office
26 May 2014 – 11 June 2019
Preceded byManmohan Singh
Succeeded byThawar Chand Gehlot
Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting
In office
13 October 1999 – 30 September 2000
Prime MinisterAtal Bihari Vajpayee
Preceded byJaipal Reddy
Succeeded bySushma Swaraj
Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha
In office
3 April 2018 – 24 August 2019
Preceded byNaresh Agrawal
Succeeded bySudhanshu Trivedi[1] [2]
ConstituencyUttar Pradesh
In office
3 April 2000 – 2 April 2018
Succeeded byNaranbhai Rathwa
ConstituencyGujarat
Personal details
Born
Arun Maharaj Kishen Jaitley

(1952-12-28)28 December 1952
Delhi, India
Died24 August 2019(2019-08-24) (aged 66)
New Delhi, India
NationalityIndian
Political partyBharatiya Janata Party
Spouse(s)
Sangeeta Jaitley
(m. 1982; his death 2019)
ChildrenSonali Jaitley Bakhshi
Rohan Jaitley
ResidenceNew Delhi, Delhi, India
EducationB.com (Hons) , L.L.B
Alma materDelhi University
Occupation
WebsiteOfficial website

Jaitley previously held the cabinet portfolios of Finance, Defence, Corporate Affairs, Commerce and Industry, and Law and Justice in the Vajpayee government and Narendra Modi government. From 2009 to 2014, he served as the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha.[4][5] He was a Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court of India.[6][7][8] He oversaw the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax which brought the country under one GST regime, demonetisation, merger of Railway budget with general budget and introduction of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.[9][10][11] Jaitley decided not to join the Modi Cabinet in 2019, due to health issues.[12][13]

Early lifeEdit

Arun Jaitley was born on 28 December 1952 in Delhi. His father Maharaj Kishen Jaitley was a lawyer and mother Ratan Prabha Jaitley a housewife.[14] He studied at St. Xavier's School, Delhi from 1957–69.[15] He graduated with the honours degree in commerce, BCom. from Shri Ram College of Commerce, New Delhi in 1973. He passed his LLB degree from the Faculty of Law, University of Delhi, in 1977.[16][17][18]

Jaitley was the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) student leader at the Delhi University Campus in the seventies and rose to be the President of the Students Union of Delhi University in 1974. During the period of proclamation of Internal Emergency (1975–77) when fundamental rights were suspended, he was under preventive detention for a period of 19 months.[19] He was a prominent leader of a movement against corruption launched in the year 1973 by Raj Narain and Jayaprakash Narayan. He was the convener of the National Committee for Students and Youth organisation appointed by Jai Prakash Narayan.[20] He was also active in civil rights movement and helped found PUCL Bulletin along with Satish Jha and Smitu Kothari.[17][21] After being released from jail, he joined the Jan Sangh.

In 1977, being the convener of the Loktantrik Yuva Morcha at a time when the Congress suffered defeat, Jaitley was appointed the president of the Delhi ABVP and All India Secretary of the ABVP. He was then made the president of the youth wing of the BJP and the secretary of the Delhi Unit in 1980, a short time after joining the party.[22]

Legal careerEdit

 
Jaitley with Former Supreme Court Judge K.S. Panicker Radhakrishnan at the Gujarat National Law University.

Since 1987, Jaitley had been practising law in the Supreme Court of India and several High Courts in India.[4] In January 1990, he was designated as a Senior Advocate by the Delhi High Court.[5][23] He was appointed Additional Solicitor General by the V. P. Singh government in 1989 and did the paperwork for the investigations into the Bofors scandal.[21][22] His clients cover the political spectrum from Sharad Yadav of the Janata Dal to Madhavrao Scindia of the Indian National Congress to L. K. Advani of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Several publications on legal and current affairs were written by him.[4] A paper on law about corruption and crime in India was presented by him, before the Indo-British Legal Forum.[4] He was appointed as the Government of India's delegate to the United Nations General Assembly Session in June 1998 which approved the Declaration on Laws Relating to Drugs and Money Laundering.[5][4]

Jaitley had also appeared on behalf of giant multinational corporations such as PepsiCo against Coca-Cola and in various other cases in India.[24][25] After having been the Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs, Jaitley represented Pepsi in 2002 in a case where the Supreme Court of India admonished and imposed stiff fines on 8 companies for painting advertisements on ecologically fragile rocks along the Manali-Rohtang road in the Himalayas. "The companies were also issued show-cause notices as to why exemplary damages should not be imposed on them for indulging in environmental vandalism."[26] In 2004, Jaitley appeared on behalf of Coca-Cola in a Rajasthan High Court case.[27]

Given his political duties as Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Jaitley stopped practising law in June 2009.[28]

Political careerEdit

Jaitley had been a member of the national executive of Bharatiya Janata Party since 1991.[29] He became the spokesperson of the BJP during the period preceding the 1999 general election.

Vajpayee GovernmentEdit

On 13 October 1999, after the Vajpayee Government of the BJP led National Democratic Alliance came to power, he was appointed Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting (Independent Charge).[4] In addition he was appointed Minister of State for Disinvestment (Independent Charge). The disinvestment ministry was created for the first time in accordance with the policy of disinvestment under the World Trade Organization regime.[4] On 23 July 2000 following the resignation of Ram Jethmalani as the Union Cabinet Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs, he took over his ministry as an additional charge.[4]

In November 2000 and was made a Cabinet Minister for the Ministry of Law, Justice and Company Affairs and Shipping. The Ministry of Surface Transport was bifurcated and he was appointed as the first Minister of Shipping. He demitted the office of the Minister for Shipping with effect from 1 September 2001 and as Union Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs on 1 July 2002.[4] He then served as the General Secretary of the BJP and its national spokesman.[4] He worked in this capacity till January 2003. He rejoined the Union Cabinet as the Minister of Commerce & Industry and Law & Justice on 29 January 2003.[22] With the defeat of the National Democratic Alliance in May 2004, Jaitley returned to his legal career and worked in the Supreme Court.[30]

2004–2014Edit

He was chosen as the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha on 3 June 2009 by L.K. Advani. On 16 June 2009, he resigned from the post of General Secretary of BJP as per his party's One Man One Post principle. He was also a member of the Central Election Committee of the party.[31] As the leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, he participated in the debates on the Women's Reservation Bill in the Rajya Sabha and also supported Anna Hazare in his 2011 Indian anti-corruption movement for the Jan Lokpal Bill.[22] He successfully introduced the eighty-fourth amendment to the Constitution of India in 2002 freezing parliamentary seats until 2026[32] and the ninety-first amendment to the Constitution of India in 2004 penalising defections.[33] However, being in the party since 1980 he never contested any direct election until 2014. He was the BJP candidate for the Amritsar seat in the Lok Sabha (replacing Navjot Singh Sidhu) for the 2014 general election, but lost to the Indian National Congress candidate Amarinder Singh. He was nominated as a Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat. He was re-nominated to the Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh in March 2018.[34]

On 26 August 2012, he said (outside Parliament) "There are occasions when an obstruction in Parliament brings greater benefits to the country." This statement was considered to have given legitimacy to obstruction of the parliament in the contemporary politics in India. After forming a government in 2014, the BJP government has faced disruption and obstruction in parliament multiple times, and the opposition have referred to this statement as a legitimate floor strategy.[35][36]

NDA led Government of IndiaEdit

On 26 May 2014, Jaitley was selected by newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi to be the Minister of Finance, the Minister for Corporate Affairs and the Minister of Defence, in his cabinet.[37][38] Analysts cited Jaitley's "part-time" focus on defence as a simple continuation of the policies of the previous government.[39] According to a WikiLeaks cable by Robert Blake, the Charge at the US Embassy, to his government, when pressed on the question of Hindutva, Jaitley had argued that Hindu nationalism "will always be a talking point" for the BJP and characterised this as an opportunistic issue.[40] Jaitley later clarified that "the use of the word opportunistic in reference to nationalism or Hindu nationalism is neither my view nor my language. It could be the diplomat's own usage."[41]

During the 2015 Bihar Legislative Assembly election, Arun Jaitley agreed with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's assertions that the idea of reservations on the basis of religion is fraught with danger and was against giving reservations to Muslim Dalits and Christian Dalits as it might impact demography.[42][43] He also serves as a member to the Board of Governors of Asian Development Bank.[44] In November 2015, Jaitley said that personal laws governing marriages and divorces should be subject to fundamental rights, as constitutionally-guaranteed rights are supreme.[45] He announced the Income declaration scheme, 2016 in September 2016.[46]

During his tenure as the Finance Minister of India, the government demonetised the ₹500 and ₹1000 currency notes, with the stated intention of curbing corruption, black money, fake currency, and terrorism from 9 November 2016.[47] He oversaw the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) which brought the country under one GST regime. On 20 June 2017, he reaffirmed that the roll-out of GST overseen by him as the finance minister was on track.[48]

Out Leadership recommended Arun Jaitley as one of the experts and leaders who openly speak on LGBT+ issues.[49]

On 29 May 2019, in a letter to Prime Minister Modi, Arun Jaitley cited his health as a reason for not taking an active role in the formation of the new government, effectively declining a role as a minister in the second term of Prime Minister Modi.[50]

Personal lifeEdit

Arun Jaitley married Sangeeta, daughter of former Jammu and Kashmir finance minister Girdhari Lal Dogra, on 25 May 1982. They have two children, Rohan and Sonali; the latter married Jaiyesh Bakhshi.[51][4][52][53] Both his children are lawyers. He had two siblings.[54] Delhi's Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium was renamed as Arun Jaitley Stadium on 12 September 2019 at a function held at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.[55]

Illness and deathEdit

Jaitley suffered from a series of health-related issues and underwent multiple surgeries leading into his deteriorating health and subsequent death in 2019. In 2005, he underwent a coronary artery bypass surgery after he was diagnosed of high blood pressure.[56] In 2014, when he weighed 117 kilograms (258 lb), a gastric bypass surgery was performed on him aimed at reducing his weight. Doctors confirmed that Jaitley had been "suffering from diabetes for nearly two decades" then, and that the said procedure was the best option for patients suffering from "uncontrolled diabetes".[57] In May 2018, he underwent a kidney transplant surgery.[58]

In February 2019, the media reported that Jaitley had been diagnosed with a rare form of soft-tissue sarcoma and was undergoing treatment in the US, although it was termed a "regular medical check-up".[59] On 9 August, he was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi (AIIMS) after he complained of "breathlessness".[60][61] On 17 August, it was reported that he was on life-support.[62] By 23 August, his health had deteriorated.[63]

Jaitley died at 12:07 p.m. (IST) the following day, aged 66.[64][65] He was cremated at Nigam Bodh Ghat on 25 August.[66] The Indian Cricket team wore black armbands for a day during the test match with the West Indies, to condole Jaitley's death.[67]

ControversiesEdit

In January 2019 Jaitley generated controversy when he accused the Central Bureau of Investigation of investigative adventurism in the ICICI Bank - Videocon fraud case.[68] The Central Bureau of Investigation had named Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar as beneficiaries in the financial fraud, in which Venugopal Dhoot, the promoter of Videocon had fraudulently transferred part of the loan received from ICICI Bank to the Kochhar's business entreprise[69] Jaitley stated that naming the corrupt bank officials will not help in the investigation.[70]

Previously in September 2012, Jaitley had warned CBI on corruption cases involving political leaders from Gujarat.[71]

ReferencesEdit

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  2. ^ "BJP names Sudhanshu Trivedi for Rajya Sabha By polls from Uttar Pradesh". Times of India. 3 October 2019. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  3. ^ "Former India finance minister Arun Jaitley dies". BBC News. 24 August 2019.
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External linksEdit