Arun Jaitley (28 December 1952 – 24 August 2019) was an Indian politician and attorney. A member of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Jaitley served as the Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs of the Government of India from 2014 to 2019.
Jaitley previously held the cabinet portfolios of Finance, Defence, Corporate Affairs, Commerce and Industry, and Law and Justice in the Vajpayee government and Narendra Modi government. From 2009 to 2014, he served as the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha.He was a Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court of India. He oversaw the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax which brought the country under one GST regime, demonetization, merger of Railway budget with general budget and introduction of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.Jaitley decided not to join the Modi Cabinet in 2019, due to health issues.
Early Life and Education
Jaitley was the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) student leader at the Delhi University Campus in the seventies and rose to be the President of the Students Union of Delhi University in 1974. During the period of proclamation of Internal Emergency (1975–77) when fundamental rights were suspended, he was under preventive detention for a period of 19 months.He was a prominent leader of a movement against corruption launched in the year 1973 by Raj Narain and Jayaprakash Narayan. He was the convener of the National Committee for Students and Youth organization appointed by Jai Prakash Narayan.He was also active in civil rights movement and helped found PUCL Bulletin along with Satish Jha and Smitu Kothari. After being released from jail, he joined the Jan Sangh.
In 1977, being the convener of the Loktantrik Yuva Morcha at a time when the Congress suffered defeat, Jaitley was appointed the president of the Delhi ABVP and All India Secretary of the ABVP. He was then made the president of the youth wing of the BJP and the secretary of the Delhi Unit in 1980, a short time after joining the party.
Arun Jaitley married Sangeeta, daughter of former Jammu and Kashmir finance minister
Girdhari Lal Dogra, on 24 May 1982. They have two children, Rohan and Sonali; the latter married Jaiyesh Bakhshi. Both his children are lawyers. He had two siblings. Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium is to be renamed as Arun Jaitley Stadium on 12 September 2019 at a function at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
Jaitley had been a member of the national executive of Bharatiya Janata Party since 1991. He became the spokesperson of the BJP during the period preceding the 1999 general election.
On 13 October 1999, after the Vajpayee Government of the BJP led National Democratic Alliance came to power, he was appointed Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting (Independent Charge). In addition he was appointed Minister of State for Disinvestment (Independent Charge). The disinvestment ministry was created for the first time in accordance with the policy of disinvestment under the World Trade Organization regime.On 23 July 2000 following the resignation of Ram Jethmalani as the Union Cabinet Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs, he took over his ministry as an additional charge.
In November 2000 and was made a Cabinet Minister for the Ministry of Law, Justice and Company Affairs and Shipping. The Ministry of Surface Transport was bifurcated and he was appointed as the first Minister of Shipping. He demitted the office of the Minister for Shipping with effect from 1 September 2001 and as Union Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs on 1 July 2002. He then served as the General Secretary of the BJP and its national spokesman.He worked in this capacity till January 2003. He rejoined the Union Cabinet as the Minister of Commerce & Industry and Law & Justice on 29 January 2003. With the defeat of the National Democratic Alliance in May 2004, Jaitley returned to his legal career and worked in the Supreme Court.
Jaitley suffered from a series of health-related issues and underwent multiple surgeries leading into his deteriorating health and subsequent death in 2019. In 2005, he underwent a coronary artery bypass surgery after he was diagnosed of high blood pressure. In 2014, when he weighed 117 kilograms (258 lb), a gastric bypass surgery was performed on him aimed at reducing his weight. Doctors confirmed that Jaitley had been “suffering from diabetes for nearly two decades” then, and that the said procedure was the best option for patients suffering from “uncontrolled diabetes”. In May 2018, he underwent a kidney transplant surgery.
In February 2019, the media reported that Jaitley had been diagnosed with a rare form of soft-tissue sarcoma and was undergoing treatment in the US, although it was termed a “regular medical check-up”.On 9 August, he was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi (AIIMS) after he complained of “breathlessness”.On 17 August, it was reported that he was on life-support. By 23 August, his health had deteriorated.
Jaitley died at 12:07 p.m. (IST) the following day, aged 66. He was cremated at Nigam Bodh Ghat on 25 August. The Indian Cricket team wore black armbands for a day during the test match with the West Indies, to condole Jaitley’s death.