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Arun Jaitley: The eyes and ears of Narendra Modi

Monday, 26 May 2014 - 6:30pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI
  • Arun Jaitley dna Research & Archives

Few people in the central leadership of BJP could claim to have the ears of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Arun Jaitley can.

Jaitley (61) defended Modi vigrously when future appeared uncertain for the then Gujarat Chief Minister following 2002 riots and played a crucial rule in his rise to the top when voices of discontent, led by the likes LK Advani, grew louder.

And it is also an evidence of Modi's faith in him that despite his loss in Lok Sabha elections, the legal luminary was always being seen as a certainty in the Modi cabinet for a high profile ministry.

More of a strategist than a grassroots politician, Jaitley was a key helmsman in the party's 2014 campaign, now being recognised for its brilliance by even opponents, and was its key voice as the Modi juggernaut rolled on.

Through his blogposts, he keenly defended the personalised electioneering around Modi when other veterans like Sushma Swaraj, Murli Manohar Joshi besides Advani seemed to demur and even took gentle swipes at party leaders, including Sushma, when they disapproved of inclusion of tainted leaders like BS Yeddyurappa.

His detractors, though, would say his adroit political calculations were of not much personal help. He chose to fight his maiden Lok Sabha election from Amritsar and lost to Congress bigwig Amarinder Singh.

In the first BJP government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Jaitley was appointed Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting (Independent Charge) and later headed Disinvestment ministry (Independent Charge), a new Ministry created for to give effect to the policy of disinvestments.

He was the first Minister of Shipping following the bifurcation of the Ministry of Surface Transport and later headed Law & Justice where he gave shape to the policy of judicial reforms.

Seen as an articulate face of the party who is as much at ease in advocating market reforms as defending the traditional, at times orthodox, world view of the larger Sangh parivar, the senior Supreme Court lawyer at heart is a modernist who shares Modi's dictum of "minimum government, maximum governance".




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