Jaitley leaves a huge vacuum in Indian politics
The month of August proved to be unlucky for the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The month of August proved to be unlucky for the Bharatiya Janata Party. The party had lost a stalwart and former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on August 16, 2018. Now the party lost three important leaders former Union Ministers Ananth Kumar, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley in quick succession.
The party had also seen untimely death of some more former Ministers Pramod Mahajan and Gopinath Munde. It's a major loss to the saffron party since it has lost some of the best and outstanding second generation of leaders trained by the founding pillars of the party L K Advani and Vajpayee.
In the words of the RSS mouthpiece Organiser, this was a "bridge generation" between the old Jan Sangh headed by Vajpayee, Rajamata Vijaya Raje Scindia and Sundar Singh Bhandari and new generation of people, who emerged after the Emergency and helped connect Jan Sangh's ideology in the idiom of modernity and post Emergency.
Arun Jaitley was one among them and in fact he was known to be what Pranab Mukherjee was to the Congress, a powerful and most important strategist. He was a man with full command over English and Hindi and had excellent oratory and story telling skills.
He had a limitless bank of anecdotes which he used to effectively during his speeches to successfully demolish the argument of the Opposition.
For all those who closely watched him, he had a life saga of scholarship and sacrifice, hard work and diligence, and can be said that he was a self-made leader who climbed the ladder the hard way.
The brilliant 45 years of Jaitley's political career will be remembered for ever as an institution in politics. An ordinary Delhi student rose to the level of a great leader and was a multifaceted personality.
A student leader who jumped over walls during Emergency as the student leader of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad played a key role in fighting against Emergency in his capacity as the president of the students' union of Delhi University.
He participated in protests, before he was arrested and kept behind bars for close to two years. This legacy - of having fought authoritarianism – helped him boost his political credentials.
All those DU students who were privy to the fight against Emergency would recall how Jaitley had given a direction to the ABVP to take the party ideology deep into all colleges the Lutyens Delhi. The ABVP had successfully carried this mission even after his arrest.
His arrest itself took place in a dramatic manner. He had organised a protest on the university campus and was to escape on his friend's scooter by jumping over the wall. But as he climbed the wall, he realised that his friend was missing and the inevitable happened.
He was grabbed by collar by a burly police officer. The 19 months he spent in jail brought in a transformation in him and he shaped himself as a special person.
His most important trait was that not only a great friend to many but also interlocutor and mentor. He always radiated positive thinking and was easily accessible to an ordinary party worker as well a business magnet.
Anyone could approach him with their problem and be assured of patient hearing and a workable advice on how to handle the issue.
Arun Jaitley was a typical Punjabi who was a connoisseur of good food and would enjoy sharing it with others. Though he was a good sportsman and was known as a cricketer, making use of his height, he also used to play basketball in school and was known as a good player.
His varied interests ranging from law and politics to sports and cricket as well as cinema, Hindi film songs, and travel widened his outlook. He had the advantage of having worked with stalwarts of the party like Vajpayee and Advani and was also considered to be one of the best spokespersons as far as media was concerned. The void of Jaitley cannot be easily filled.
While his family and friends will miss him a lot, the loss for the party is much more, particularly at a time when it has set a major agenda to be completed before next elections.