Arun Jaitley as a star debater at Delhi University, a rising student political leader, a prisoner during the Emergency and a media-savvy personality — the late Union minister’s friends from college and political life and the legal fraternity bid him goodbye at a memorial meet at the India International Centre Monday.
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, former attorney generals Soli J Sorabjee and Mukul Rohatgi, former solicitor general Ranjit Kumar, lawyer Raian Karanjawala and journalist Navika Kumar were among those present.
Sorabjee recalled how Jaitley had initially turned down the position of Additional Solicitor General in the 1990s.
“Very few people are aware… Prime Minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh was very happy about Arun’s performance… in the Bofors scam case. He wanted to appoint him additional solicitor general and asked me to convey this decision to him… Guess what was his reaction? He did not grab the offer, but politely declined saying he was very young. That was humility in action,” Sorabjee said. Jaitley was later appointed ASG.
Prasad said he first met Jaitley in 1973 in Ahmedabad, when he had just joined ABVP. “He began in the public life first as a simple worker and lawyer, and became a towering figure professionally. He was also one of the leaders in the Vajpayee government to understand the need for reforms,” he said.
Former solicitor general of India, Ranjit Kumar said Jaitley loved Hindi film music.
“If you were to tell him about a movie or a song sequence, he would tell you exactly what happened before and after the song. He had an elephantine memory, whether it was 1960 or now,” he said.