Arun Jaitley, started off as an Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad, student leader at the Delhi campus. He was appointed as convenor of the National Committee by Jaiprakash Narayan for students and youth organisation. During the 1975 emergency, he was under preventive detention for a period of 19 months.
A commerce graduate from Sri Ram College and law graduate from Delhi University, Jaitley practiced as a senior lawyer in the Supreme Court as well as High courts. He has previously represented multi-national giants such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
In 1980, he joined the BJP and went on to become a member of the national executive (principal decision making body) of the party since 1991. He was a delegate representing the Government of India at the UN General Assembly in 1998. He was appointed as the BJP spokesperson after the 1999 general election. Arun Jaitley was appointed as Minister of State for Disinvestment, a new ministry established to give effect to the policy of disinvestments under the World Trade Organisation regime. He has also previously served as Minister of Law and Justice, Minister of Shipping and Minister of Commerce and Industry. He was also additional solicitor general of India in the year 1990.
According to 'Business Standard Political Profiles of Cabals and Kings' he likes to refer to himself a liberal political activist grounded in law, ethics and humanism. He is also a practicing Hindu but believes in keeping religion private.
In 2012, in the Rajya Sabha debate regarding 117th Amendment Bill, Arun Jaitley, he made the following statement on the subject of reservation, "..An effort to eliminate discrimination cannot be done by a process of resorting to reverse discrimination...adequacy of representation (for all) and over all administrative efficiency under Article 335 are a part of the constitutional requirements without which the structure of equality of opportunity under Article 16 would collapse. ..I have a serious objection to this clause. Article 335 provides for relaxed standards to be made applicable to SCs and STs. If this provision in Article 335 is applicable, this would adversely impact the efficiency and the morale of the service, create an inequality and would be constitutionally vulnerable. I would, therefore, urge the government to delete this part of the amendment."
Here's his full speech:
He has played an important role as general secretary of the BJP till 2003. He was the chief strategist of the BJP in Punjab and co-ordinated an alliance with Shiromani Akali Dal. He has been the chief planner and has been a key strategist in a number of assembly elections for the BJP in states like Bihar, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.
He is believed to have been the key reason why PM Manmohan Singh’s brother, Daljit Singh Kohli joined the BJP campaign in Amritsar. It is said that Daljit Singh joined the campaign due to Jaitley’s persuasion. He is the leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha for BJP from Gujarat. He is contesting this General Election from Amritsar, Punjab against Congress’ Capt Amarinder Singh.
Here's an interview with Jaitley taken earlier this month: