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The Importance Of Being Arun Jaitley

What works in his favour? What goes against him?

The Importance Of Being Arun Jaitley
Photograph by PTI
The Importance Of Being Arun Jaitley
outlookindia.com
2016-07-04T18:32:34+05:30

What works in his favour

  • Suave, affable, articulate, untainted by scandal, barring the DDCA issue last year
  • Loyalty to Narendra Modi goes back to the 1990s; has championed PM’s post-2002 legal defence
  • As a lawyer, has represented politicians and corporates; is one of the party’s main fund-raisers
  • Has conducted several BJP election campaigns and knows the party’s organisational strengths and weaknesses
  • Social skills, in short supply in the BJP, have helped him build contacts across different parties
  • TV-friendly face; has proprietors, editors, anchors, journalists and gossip columnists on speed dial
  • As ASG and law minister, built a vice-like grip on the judiciary; several judges said to be his ‘appointees’
  • Remains a formidable speaker in Parliament; led Opposition in RS to much acclaim during UPA-II

What goes against him

  • Too much of an insider in Lutyens’ Delhi, the vicious circle from which Modi wants to break out
  • RSS distrusts his anglicised sophistication, feels he stands for everything that is antithetical to Sangh
  • Secular image doesn’t go down well; known to have dismissed ‘Hindutva’ as an opportunistic issue
  • Has no political base to match ambitions; lost by a big margin from Amritsar despite the Modi wave
  • With Amit Shah finally coming into his own, Modi’s use for Jaitley in party organisation has declined
  • Party and cabinet colleagues see the hand of Jaitley’s ‘gang’ in negative stories that appear in media
  • Lacklustre performance as finance minister; too close to Sonia and Rahul Gandhi and former FM P. Chidambaram
  • Underwent triple bypass surgery in 2005 and bariatric surgery later; health remains a concern
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