Bigwigs who left us in 2019
Arun Jaitley (28th Dec 1952 to 24th Aug 2019): 'Troubleshooter' is how leaders across the political spectrum described Arun Jaitley after his death in...
Arun Jaitley (28th Dec 1952 to 24th Aug 2019):
'Troubleshooter' is how leaders across the political spectrum described Arun Jaitley after his death in August. Described by PM Modi as his 'dost' (friend), Jaitley was PM's 'guide' during his early days in Lutyens Delhi.
Sushma Swaraj (14th Feb 1952 to 6th Aug 2019):
Former External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj passed away mere hours after congratulating Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Twitter for the government's decision to revoke special status of Jammu and Kashmir, announced a day earlier. Famous for having brought a 'humane' touch to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), her death left an entire nation in shock, as well as in immense grief.
Manohar Parrikar (13th Dec 1955 to 17th Mar 2019):
The first Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) alumnus to become Chief Minister (the second being Arvind Kejriwal), Manohar Parrikar died due to pancreatic cancer while being the sitting Chief Minister of Goa. An IIT-Bombay alumnus, Parrikar was the Union Defence Minister when he returned to Goa as its Chief Minister in March 2017.
Sheila Dikshit (31th Mar 1938 to 20th July 2019):
A three-term Chief Minister of Delhi, Sheila Dikshit was also the longest-serving Chief Minister of any State or union territory (UT). She was also the second former Delhi Chief Minister to have passed away this year, Sushma Swaraj being the other (another former Chief Minister Madan Lal Khurana passed away last October).
George Fernandes (3rd Jun 1930 to 29th Jan 2019):
Kown for that viral image-raising hands in defiance while still in shackles, during emergency-George Fernandes was the Union Defence Minister at the time of Kargil War in 1999. It is reported that he visited the Siachen glacier-the world's highest battlefield-a record 32 times. It was during his time as the Defence Minister that allocation in the budget for the defence sector was more than that allocated by any previous government.
Ram Jethmalani (14th Sept 1923 to 8th Sept 2019):
A legal doyen, Ram Jethmalani was India's Law Minister in the first Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Arguably the most noted face in the Indian legal fraternity, he was known for his forte in criminal law and high-profile civil cases. He obtained his LLB degree at just 17-years old.
S Jaipal Reddy (16th Jan 1942 to 28th July 2019):
A Congress heavyweight from the present-day Telangana, Sudini Jaipal Reddy was a five-term Lok Sabha MP. The Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Minister in 1998 in the government of then-Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral, he also held other portfolios like Science and Technology, Earth Sciences etc. at different times.
TN Seshan (15th Dec 1932 to 10th Nov 2019):
Election Commissioner with a 'spine.' TN Seshan was not a politician but played a major role in the country's politics. The Election Commission of today, it is alleged, has become just a 'tool' in the hands of the Modi government, but with Seshan as the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), it brought about sweeping changes in the country's electoral system.
Girish Karnad (19th May 1938 to 10th Jun 2019:
Jnanpith Award-winning playwright Girish Karnad died in Bengaluru on June 10. He was 81. Karnad was a huge figure in the Kannada literary scene. He was also active in the world of cinema; he made his acting and screenwriting debut in a Kannada movie "Samskara" in 1970. His most memorable role - that of Swami's father - was in "Malgudi Days", a television adaptation of RK Narayan's timeless and enchanting collection of short stories about the sleepy, fictional town of Malgudi in south India.