Arun Jaitley

Arun Jaitley
Arun Jaitley
Leader of Opposition (Rajya Sabha)
Personal details
Born 28 December 1952 (1952-12-28) (age 58)
New Delhi
Political party Bharatiya Janata Party
Residence New Delhi
Alma mater University of Delhi
Occupation Politician
Profession Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India
Religion Hindu

Arun Jaitley (Hindi:अरुण जेटली ) (born 28 December 1952) is a prominent Indian politician and a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is currently the largest Opposition party in India. He is the leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha and has previously served as the Union Minister for commerce, industry, law and justice of the Government of India.



He was born to Kishen and Ratan Prabha Jaitley.[1]. Born to a lawyer father,[2] he did his schooling at St. Xavier's School, New Delhi from 1969-70.[citation needed] He graduated in Commerce from Shri Ram College of Commerce, New Delhi in 1973. He passed his Law degree from the Faculty of Law, University of Delhi, in 1977. During his career as a student, he was the recipient of several distinctions for his outstanding performances both in academics and extra curricular activities. He was President of the Students Union of Delhi University in 1974.[3]

Political career as student union leader

Jaitley was an Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) student leader in the Delhi University campus in the seventies and rose to be President of the University Students' Union in 1974. During the period of proclamation of Internal Emergency (1975–77) when civil liberties 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 Jai Prakash Narayan. He was the Convenor of the National Committee for Students and Youth organisation 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.[2][3] After being released from jail he joined Jan Sangh.

Legal career

He has been practicing law before the Supreme Court of India and several High Courts in the country since 1977.[4] He is a designated Senior Advocate. He was appointed Additional Solicitor General by the V.P. Singh Government in 1989 and did the paperwork for the investigations into the Bofors scandal.[2] His clients cover the political spectrum from Sharad Yadav of the Janata Dal to Madhavrao Scindia of the Indian National Congress to L.K. Advani of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He has authored several publications on legal and current affairs. He has presented a Paper on Law relating to Corruption and Crime in India before the Indo-British Legal Forum. He was a delegate on behalf of the Government of India to the United Nations General Assembly Session in June 1998 where the Declaration on Law relating to Drugs and Money Laundering was approved.

Political career

Arun Jaitley had been the member of the ABVP, the student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) during his student days. He became the spokesman of the BJP during the period preceding the 1999 general election. After the Vajpayee Government came to power under the umbrella of the National Democratic Alliance, he was appointed Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting (Independent Charge) on October 13, 1999. He was also appointed Minister of State for Disinvestment (Independent Charge), a new Ministry created for the first time to give effect to the policy of disinvestments under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) regime. He took over the additional charge of the Ministry of Law, Justice and Company Affairs on July 23, 2000 following the resignation of Ram Jethmalani as the Union Cabinet Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs. He was elevated as a Cabinet Minister in November 2000 and was made simultaneously the Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs and Shipping. He was the first Minister of Shipping following the bifurcation of the Ministry of Surface Transport. He demitted the office of the Minister for Shipping with effect from September 1, 2001 and as Union Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs on July 1, 2002 to join as a Secretary General, BJP and its national spokesman.[4] 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 serving the BJP as a General Secretary, and back to his legal career.

He is currently a Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat (as of March 2006) and has never contested any election. He was chosen as the Leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha on June 3, 2009 by L.K. Advani. On June 16, 2009 he resigned from the post of General Secretary of BJP as per his party's One Man One Post principle.

In his capacity as the leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha- he has been credited for his excellent oratory which is matched equally by his intense research into the topic and his ability to succinctly convey the message without being shrill.

Personal income

In a news item on income of Rajya Sabha MPs, Times of India reported that Arun Jaitely's income is Rs. 10 Crore (about US$ 2.15 million) per annum[5].

US cable controversy

It was alleged that Jaitley had suggested that the use of right-wing Hindu nationalism was opportunistic and was being done as it was in 'currency' in certain parts of India. [6]

Jaitley and his party BJP vehemently denied it.

Notable achievements


He represented the Birla family in their legal battle against R. S. Lodha on the question of ownership of Birla Corporation Limited, the property worth Rs. 5000 Cr and above.

He has represented Ram Gopal Verma in a case against the film-maker who had a distorted version of the National Anthem in his film Rann. He later dropped the song from the film.

84th Amendment

He successfully introduced the eighty-fourth amendment to the Constitution of India in 2002 freezing parliamentary seats until 2026.[7]

91st Amendment

He successfully introduced the ninety-first amendment to the Constitution of India in 2004 penalising defections.[8]

Role as strategic planner of BJP

Recently, Arun Jaitley had emerged as strategic planner for his track record of managing a number of victories in state Assembly election for the BJP.

Arun Jaitley as General Secretary has managed 8 Assembly elections as of May 2008. Most recently, he oversaw the BJP's success in the state of Karnataka.


In 2002, Arun Jaitley helped his close associate, Narendra Modi, win the Gujarat Assembly elections with a landslide mandate, winning 126 out of 182 seats. This partnership rewarded him with a Rajya Sabha nomination.

In December 2007, Arun Jaitley orchestrated a well organized campaign to return the incumbent Chief Minister Narendra Modi back to power. The BJP won 117 seats out of the 182 seats. Narendra Modi specifically asked the party high command to depute Arun Jaitley in Gujarat. The primary poll issues were pro-incumbency of Narendra Modi and good governance by the state administration.

Madhya Pradesh

In 2003, Arun Jaitley, managed the assembly elections in the state of Madhya Pradesh. He, along with Uma Bharti, won a thumping majority of 173 out of 230 in the MP Assembly.

He participated in a one-on-one debate with the then Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh- Digvijay Singh, televised on NDTV-- this is widely credited to be the last nail in the ruling Congress party's electoral chances.

Uma Bharti, the Chief Minister and Arun Jaitley would then fall out leading to the former's expulsion.


Arun Jaitley was specifically put in charge of Karnataka, which went to polls simultaneously with the Lok Sabha in May 2004. Karnataka is the only southern state in which the BJP has a sizable presence and a positive mandate for the BJP was expected. The BJP won 18 out of 26 Lok Sabha Seats in the State and emerged as the single largest party in the Assembly, capturing 83 seats, as opposed to the Congress' 68 and the Janata Dal (Secular)'s 59. The Congress and the JD(S) forged a coalition to form the Government with the Congress' Dharam Singh becoming Chief Minister. This however, did not last. In January 2006, disgruntled JDS leaders, led by H. D. Kumaraswamy decided to form a coalition government in the state in partnership with BJP. The understanding was that after half the remaining term of the assembly, the BJP would have its own Chief Minister in the State. In November 2007 H.D.Kumaraswamy declined to transfer the power to B. S. Yeddyurappa and assembly was dissolved.

In May 2008, Arun Jaitley oversaw a phenomenal election campaign in Karnataka, outdoing his previous performance. In the 224-member Assembly, the BJP won 110 seats, falling 3 short of a majority. Soon after, Arun Jaitley negotiated the support of 5 independent MLAs thus taking the BJP's strength to 115. All party leaders starting from President Rajnath Singh to colleague Sushma Swaraj and the BJP's Chief Ministerial candidate in Karnataka, B.S. Yedyurrappa, credited Arun Jaitley with the victory. The Karnataka victory and the ascendency of Yedyurrappa is widely touted as BJP's entry in South Indian politics.


In 2005, after the February elections resulted in a hung verdict, re-elections were held in November in the state of Bihar. This election was fought by the BJP in a coalition with the JD(U). He was the chief strategist of the NDA combine. The BJP, ended up winning an all time high of 58 seats and with the JD(U)'s 88 seats were able to form the government. Nitish Kumar of the JD(U) was instated as Chief Minister and the BJP's Sushil Kumar Modi was installed as Deputy Chief Minister.of Bihar.


In February 2007, Arun managed the BJP's campagaign in Punjab and coordinated a strategy between the party and its ally, the Shiromani Akali Dal. Out of the 23 seats the party contested, it won 19, a figure that surpassed all expectations and is the party's best-ever performance in the state.


Late in 2007, Arun Jaitley was appointed general secretary in-charge of elections to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD). Of the 272 member Corporation, the BJP won 164 wards.

Personal life

Jaitley has been married to Sangeeta Jaitley since 24 May 1982. They have two children, son Rohan[9] and daughter Sonali.[1][4]


Political offices
Preceded by
Ram Jethmalani
Minister of Law and Justice
Succeeded by
Hansraj Bhardwaj
Preceded by
Hansraj Bhardwaj
Minister of Law and Justice
Succeeded by
Veerappa Moily
Preceded by
Minister of Shipping
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Minister of Commerce and Industry
Succeeded by

He rejoined the Union Cabinet as the Minister of Commerce & Industry and Law & Justice on 29 January 2003.

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