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HTLS speaker Arun Jaitley: Paceman’s instinct in politics

Union minister for finance and corporate affairs Arun Jaitley is a speaker at HTLS 2017.

htls Updated: Nov 29, 2017 21:51 IST
Arun Jaitley,HTLS speaker,Politics
Union minister for finance and corporate affairs Arun Jaitley.(Illustration: Animesh Debnath)

As a medium-pace bowler in his school days, the team would depend on Arun Jaitley to demolish the batting lineups of rival teams with inswingers and short-of-length deliveries.

Jaitley brought that paceman’s instinct to student politics at Delhi University, and then to the courtrooms of the Capital as a top lawyer. Politics was no different for him. The sharp and witty Jaitley, now Finance Minister of India, has often left rivals ducking for cover over his distinguished career as a BJP spokesman, party general secretary, Parliamentarian and minister.

Indeed, the 64-year-old Jaitley wears many hats. While serving as president of the Delhi University Students’ Union in 1974, he earned the reputation of being an astute organizer with an eye for spotting talent. Sent to jail during the Emergency the following year, he came out to become convener of the Loktantrik Yuva Morcha, which campaigned for the Janta Party and was instrumental in Congress’s first defeat in the 1977 general elections.

Jaitley is today a key strategist for the BJP, the “go-to man” in the government, and as finance minister, the spearhead of the NDA government’s two most important economic reforms – Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the bankruptcy code.

Jaitley loves food, watches and shawls. A warm host, he can still be spotted treating friends to some of Delhi’s signature delicacies (Chhole Bhature at Kwality restaurant and Dal Meat at Embassy, to name just two).

In his free time, which he barely gets now, Jaitley likes to tune in to old Hindi film songs.

First Published: Nov 28, 2017 20:47 IST