19 C
New Delhi
Thursday 9 April 2020

Jaitley: Indespensable, man for all seasons in BJP

Jaitley was the bridge that the BJP used to win over new allies, and also its warm, affable and persuasive face to bring opposition parties around on key issues

Editorials

In India

Lockdown may be extended with ‘change in work style’

While the parties were near unanimous about extending the lockdown, Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised the concerns of DBT and emphasised the need to work differently to run the economy

Lockdown to end on schedule, hints PM; list 10 KRAs, union ministers told

Today's meeting of the prime minister with his colleagues in the union ministries raises hope for the economy even amid the apprehension that the nation might not be able to break the chain of the COVID contagion by 14 April

New Delhi: For the BJP, Arun Jaitley was a man for all seasons — a strategist who crafted its rise in many States, a suave and moderate face who won the saffron party new allies and an articulate champion of its cause whose persuasive skills were a valuable asset for its leadership.

For almost a decade-and-a-half, more so after the death of Pramod Mahajan in 2006, Jaitley was the last port of call for the party to help it out of any crisis.

Jaitley’s skills were on full display in the first Narendra Modi government when he framed its and the BJP’s response to the opposition’s charges of corruption, especially in Rafale deal, and crony capitalism and led the counter-assault against the Congress-led UPA with his regular social media posts during the recent general election despite.

Jaitley died at AIIMS on Saturday after battling health issues for months. A member of the BJP core team for many years, the senior lawyer was probably the only party bigwig who not only made a smooth transition but also grew in stature as LK Advani was eased out to make way for Modi as its prime ministerial candidate in 2013.

A keen political mind who was always observant of the shifting strands of politics, Jaitley was an early supporter of Modi within the party. He deployed his political acumen and legal might to help Modi, the then Gujarat chief minister, and his confidant Amit Shah, now Union home minister, to come out clean from 2002 riots allegations and fake encounter charges respectively.

A quintessential moderate who was never associated with the hard edges of Hindutva politics, Jaitley became a trusted friend of Modi — feted by the party’s rank and file for his unabashed support to the hardcore saffron agenda — as he smoothed the path for the Gujarat leader’s rise in the BJP.

Unsurprisingly, when Modi led his party to its maiden majority in Lok Sabha in 2014 and he rewarded him with the coveted finance portfolio.

Jaitley himself had lost the Lok Sabha election but it had little impact on his fortunes as Modi trusted him with key ministries, from defence to information and broadcasting,

whenever the need arose.

The former Delhi University Students Union president was a rare politician who could be as much at home in a parliamentary debate, holding a full House in thrall with his exposition on issues as varied as the Rafale fighter aircraft deal row and the triple talaq bill, as in a press conference where he, unlike most politicians, relied on reason and not rhetoric to articulate his party’s position. BJP spokespersons would never miss to join his press conferences in the audience seats to learn the finer crafts of their work.

A gifted raconteur whose interest spanned from politics to Bollywood to sports, Jaitley’s informal gatherings were always a full house as journalists, friends and politicians enjoyed his wit, sarcasm — which singed his colleagues and adversaries alike — and grasp of issues that he delivered in his ever relaxed and warm demeanour.

Jaitley was the bridge that the BJP used to win over new allies, and also its warm, affable and persuasive face to bring opposition parties around on key issues. A BJP ally like JD(U) president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was his personal friend for decades after he played a key role in ensuring that he is projected as their alliance’s chief ministerial candidate. Even when Kumar snapped ties with the BJP in 2013, he made it a point to visit him whenever he came to the national capital. He joined hands with the saffron party again in 2017, with Jaitley playing an instrumental role.

As general secretary of the BJP, Jaitley was pivotal to the party’s rise in several states, including Bihar, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. He was also a fine administrator who brought solid and steady hands at the helm.

As finance minister, Jaitley was pivotal in ushering in the Goods and Services Tax, hailed by Modi as an economic unification of the country, and clearing the path for long-pending reforms in the defence sector during his short stint in the ministry.

Jaitley enjoyed such warm relations with the media that his critics at times called him the “chief of bureau” for the easy way with which he could set the political discourse with a briefing. But those who knew Jaitley believed that he was the most sought after face of the party for journalists for the simple reason that nobody articulated its position better than him. And that he had matchless interpersonal skills only helped.

That in his long political career Jaitley kept clear of any serious personal or political controversy is a tribute to his legacy.

It is a cliche to say whenever an important public figure dies that the void created by his demise will be hard to fill but the BJP may find it rather difficult to have somebody as good at so many things for so long as Jaitley was.

Coronavirus worldwide update, with focus on India, LIVE

Since the facts and figures related to the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (nCOVID-19, COVID-19 or COVID) are changing by the minute, Sirf News has begun this blog to keep the readers updated with information coming from authentic sources

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

- Advertisement -

Articles

China Is Guilty, But How Will World Retaliate?

The attack has to be calibrated as the world has invested heavily in China and that country, in turn, has markets worldwide, making your own economy vulnerable when you take measures against Beijing

Sewa In COVID Times: Living ‘Service Before Self’ Credo

Sewa International volunteers were first off the starting block, setting up non-medical helplines for the four regional areas — West Coast, East Coast, Midwest, and Southwest — for a coordinated national response, where people can call in for assistance

United States & India: Same COVID, Different Prescriptions

The different social structures, experiences in the leaders of the two countries, variation in the degree of political capital, etc make India and the US react differently to the global COVID pandemic

China Is Guilty, But How Will World Retaliate?

The attack has to be calibrated as the world has invested heavily in China and that country, in turn, has markets worldwide, making your own economy vulnerable when you take measures against Beijing

Sewa In COVID Times: Living ‘Service Before Self’ Credo

Sewa International volunteers were first off the starting block, setting up non-medical helplines for the four regional areas — West Coast, East Coast, Midwest, and Southwest — for a coordinated national response, where people can call in for assistance

United States & India: Same COVID, Different Prescriptions

The different social structures, experiences in the leaders of the two countries, variation in the degree of political capital, etc make India and the US react differently to the global COVID pandemic

For fearless journalism

%d bloggers like this: