How can one describe Arun Jaitley? As a gentleman, as Best strategist ever, a great orator, man of humility, a foresighted leader…… he was a rare gem of a politician. He had Friendly and courteous relation with the media.
But there was so much more to Jaitley than all of the above.
It was he who coined the BJP’s catchy slogans and one-liners thanks to his quick wit. He was troubleshooter of the party. He always had party’s back.
It was Jaitley ji and his famous ‘tikki party’ which virtually introduced New Delhi’s bureaucracy to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the first two months of his government in 2014.
today when PM Narendra Modi mourns Mr. Jaitley’s demise and says he has lost a valued friend, yes his loss is irreplaceable.
Arun Jaitley was the man who brought Narendra Modi to national scene. He was the chief troubleshooter for Prime Minister Narendra Modi since his days in Gujarat politics.
It had been only three months after Narendra Modi took the reins of state administration when the Godhra massacre and post Godhra roots shook Gujrath. Then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had advised Narendra Modi to follow “rajdharm”. This led to many speculations that he was not happy with the way situation was being handled in Gujarat. In that situation, Arun Jaitley was the key person to reason out with Vajpayeeji that removing Narendra Modi as Gujarat chief minister would do more harm to the party. And, convinced Vajpayeeji.
Modi-Jaitley partnership began with this and it remained till the death of the former Union minister. While Narendra Modi’s victory in 2002 Gujarat election was credited to the hindutva and anti incumbency , 2007 state polls presented a huge challenge to him. Narendra Modi was facing the electiobs on his government’s performance and not to forget the media and government at centre did not leave any opportunity to present him in bad light.
To take charge of these situations Arun Jaitley landed in Ahmedabad to help out Narendra Modi with a strategy. Arun Jaitley devised region and constituency wise poll strategy for the Modi government. This election saw the beginning of Brand Modi. Narendra Modi was presented to the people of Gujarat as the face of Hindutva on a development mission.
The election package delivered amazing results and it was repeated on grander scale in 2012 Gujarat election.
In New Delhi, Arun Jaitley continued building Narendra Modi’s image as a man to deliver development . He had started preparing a ground for Narendra Modi’s national acceptance as early as 2007.
Arun Jaitley had said “The biggest strength of Narendra Modi is his brain and decisiveness.”
In due course, when BJP failed to emerge victorious under in 2009 Lok Sabha election, a search for next-age leader began in the BJP-RSS family. In post-2009 period, Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Nitin Gadkari were the frontrunners for a leadership role in the BJP. But Jaitley was convinced that Narendra Modi was the right choice to replace LK Advani as the leader in the party.
Arun Jaitley worked to bring Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari and Venkaiah Naidu on board before the BJP leaders sat down to name its prime ministerial candidate in 2013. Three-time Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was also brought around. Shivraj Singh Chouhan, to many in the party, was a better and non-controversial candidate. But his coming on board with jaitleyji was a guarantee that Modi will have a better shot.
Not only that Arun Jaitley used his equation with the journalists to keep Brand Modi fly high in 2014 Lok Sabha election. Once the Modi wave propelled the BJP to power in 2014 election, Jaitley brought Sushma Swaraj in the camp. To her credit, Sushma Swaraj adjusted well with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and played a mammoth role in furthering his foreign policy.
Arun Jaitley was not only the troubleshooter for Narendra Modi but he was also the go-to-man for Amit Shah, the Union home minister. in 2010 in when Amit Shah faced tough times in Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case, it was Arun Jaitley who bailed him out. It was a common sight during those days to find Amit Shah in Arun Jaitley’s Kailash Colony office in New Delhi.
Both Amit Shah and Narendra Modi always remembered the support of this man. And both have showered respect to Arun Jaitley.
On a day when the BJP won majority in the Lok Sabha for the first time and Amit Shah having played the most important role as party general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh, he was there with his Jaitley ji spent his afternoon at jaitleyji house in New Delhi consoling the “brain” of the party who had lost to Capt. Amrinder Singh.
Arun Jaitley became the finance minister in the first Narendra Modi government and held defence portfolio among others.
Narendra Modi is said to have walked extra mile to make sure that Arun Jaitley’s ego was not hurt.
Arun Jaitley opted out of Narendra Modi 2.0 but he continued to defend the government on all decisions including the triple talaq bill and abrogation of special status of Jammu and Kashmir. In Arun Jaitley’s death, Narendra Modi has lost a true friend, philosopher and guide.
For the leaders of BJP it is always nation first, party next and oneself last, and their family too follow..
Family of Arun Jaitley has insisted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi not cut short his official three day visit to the UAE. While speaking to Prime Minister Modi on the phone, Jaitley’s wife and son insisted that he continues his tour as per schedule and not rush back to Delhi.
In today’s political scenario leaders like Jaitley are rare gems. It’s unfortunate that BJP lost such invaluable gems in a span of year. Atalji, Ananthji, Parikkarji, Sushmaji and now Jaitley ji. They have set a strong foundation to the party, and they will be missed but respected for ages to come.
Dr Sindhu PrashanthAr