It would be an understatement if we term Finance Minister Arun Jaitley as indispensable to the Modi government. Or a master in statecraft? When it comes to crunch decisions, he is like Kautilya; when it comes to the passage of crucial and important bills in Parliament, he dons the role of Vidhur in taking opposition parties into confidence. When Parliament is in session, Jaitley is the most sought after person by ministerial colleagues, bureaucrats, captains of industry and the media. He is the only minister who virtually holds a durbar In the Central Hall with several mediapersons sitting with him or surrounding him. Senior Ministers like Venkaiah Naidu, Anantha Kumar and Ravi Shankar Prasad come and brief Jaitley.
His personal staff often interrupts with small chits, which carry the names of Sanjay Goenka, Ratan Tata and Cyrus Mistry or sometimes a Banking secretary or Lt. General. In an imperial manner, Jaitley nods his head and asks them to wait. While interacting with the media, Jaitley is full of camaraderie. Asked about the chances of Venkaiah Naidu becoming vice president, Jaitley answers: If he becomes Vice President who will hold press conferences to brief the nation? If somebody asks what are the chances of Jharkhand lady tribal Governor Draupadi Murmu, Jaitley counters by asking about an additional secretary in the Ministry of Finance? As far as the media is concerned, the USP of Arun Jaitley is that he is a great story teller and enjoys real gossip. If the media tells him anything about his enemies or detractors like Ram Jethmalani, Subramaniam Swamy or for that matter Arvind Kejriwal, he is eager to listen.
VOL. 11 | ISSUE 2| MAY 2017