Arun Jaitley being a mentor of many young BJP leaders, almost all of them were beside his mortal remains throughout Sunday. Both the seniors and the young leaders seemed to have found it difficult to come to terms with his death. All Union ministers and senior ministers at the party headquarters when his body was brought there looked crestfallen. Shrikant Sharma said it was difficult for him to believe that “someone who was everything” to him was no more. Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan tweeted after the cremation, “Still not able to come to terms that Jaitley Sahab is no more with us. So difficult to bid adieu to someone who gave you so much to remember.” Another protege of Jaitley, Anurag Thakur, was seen making all efforts to see to it that everything went smoothly at the party headquarters.
A Unique Tribute
In a unique tribute to former finance minister Arun Jaitley, who was cremated on Sunday, Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi and the Raj Bhawan team on Sunday planted palm trees on the banks of the Bahour tank in rural Puducherry along with students of Puducherry University. The trees were named AJ. Bedi, who contested the 2015 Delhi Assembly elections as the BJP’s CM candidate, said it was Jaitley who convinced her to take the plunge.
The Congress high command is said to be working out a compromise formula to placate Haryana veteran Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who has raised a banner of revolt just ahead of the Assembly elections. One gets to hear that top party leaders Ahmed Patel and Ghulam Nabi Azad are in talks with Hooda and all indications are that Haryana Congress president Ashok Tanwar could be replaced as part of the formula. Azad is the AICC in-charge of Haryana. While Hooda is keen that either he or a person of his choice is given the command of Haryana Congress ahead of elections, party leaders indicate the leadership is willing to meet him halfway. So a leader who is acceptable to Hooda but not from his camp could be made the PCC chief. The big question is, will that be a Jat or a non-Jat?
When former prime minister Manmohan Singh took oath on Friday as a member of Rajya Sabha for the sixth term, he and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu exchanged notes on Rajasthan — a state which Singh will now represent and which Naidu briefly represented in Upper House before his elevation. Though domicile status is no more a prerequisite for election to Rajya sabha, Singh recalled his Rajasthan connection before taking oath in the chamber of Chairman Naidu in the presence of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. He recalled his first visit as a student of Panjab University to Jaipur in 1952 to attend a seminar. Naidu too recalled his Rajasthan stint.