Cutting across party lines, political leaders from Pune paid rich tributes to former Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, who passed away in New Delhi on Saturday.
Former chief of BJP’s Pune unit, Yogesh Gogawale, said Jaitley’s leadership qualities were evident even back in the 1970s, when he was an integral part of the mass movement launched by Jayaprakash Narayan. “Before Emergency, Jaitley led the Janata Yuva Morcha, which took active part in the movement against corruption,” he said. After Emergency, Jaitley headed the Akhil Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, said Gogawale. Follow Arun Jaitley funeral LIVE Updates
“Jaitley had organised a national conference in Delhi. I was heading the Pune city unit of the Janata Yuva Morcha. I had a one on one meeting with him. He came across as a very studious leader, someone who had deep knowledge and could hold forth on any topic,” he said.
Jaitley was jailed for 19 months during Emergency.
NCP’s Rajya Sabha MP Vandana Chavan said, “Arun Jaitley was an able lawyer, an astute parliamentarian and a great orator. It was an honour to listen to him speak. When he stood up and delivered his speech in Parliament, it was like Saraswati flowing out of his mind and mouth. I had the privilege of witnessing him speak as the leader of the opposition, as House leader and as a minister,” she said.
Chavan also spoke of how Jaitley had addressed the issue of the beleaguered Rupee Bank. Not many know that it was Arun Jaitley’s decision which had given the stakeholders of the bank a major breather, she said.
“The RBI had ordered the closure of the bank. But our party chief Sharad Pawar and I personally met Jaitleyji and requested him to intervene. The finance minister had extended the term of the administrator, giving a lease of life to the depositors and others,” she said.
Rupee Bank has nearly five lakh depositors.
Shiv Sena MP Shrirang Barne said when Arun Jaitley was the finance minister, over 1,000 employees of the Pimpri unit of the ailing Hindustan Antibiotics Ltd had reasons to cheer as their long-pending salaries were cleared by him. “During his tenure as finance minister, Jaitley approved Rs 137 crore for HA. This helped the company management pay salaries pending for 30 months. It was indeed a joyous moment for the employees, who were going through the most difficult period of their lives. Many were finding it difficult to survive…,” Barne said, adding that Jaitley had cleared the salaries in less than two months of his meeting with the finance minister.
“Not just that, it was because of Arun Jaitley that the ailing PSU is still surviving as the government had taken a policy decision not to close it down,” said Barne.
He added that he had met Jaitley several times and found him amiable and accessible.
Vijaya Rahatkar, the national president of BJP’s Mahila Morcha, said, “Arun Jaitley always used to write a blog where he used to guide the path the party should tread… I was inspired by that and decided to write a book. I met him during the last session of Parliament during the previous tenure of the government, when he said: “tum achcha kam kar rahi ho” (you are doing a good job)…”.