Former Union finance minister and senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley passed away on Saturday in Delhi at the age of 66. An ardent follower of cricket, Jaitley had made his love for the sport public with consistent tweets in the recent years.
As the cricket community mourned his death, many remembered conversations on the game with the former BJP leader. While Anil Kumble tweeted that he would ‘fondly remember our conversations around cricket’, Aakash Chopra wrote that Jaitley knew the names of the kids doing well at U-19 level as well.
As a fellow cricket fan, I once called @arunjaitley the Kapil Dev of the BJP who could play in any role the Party gave him.. the GST council will be his enduring legacy.. a rare consensus builder in a polarised world.. RIP..
— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) August 24, 2019
Still remember how Mr Dalmiya had turned to @arunjaitley during the Mike Denness issue in SA in 2001. Mr Jaitley nominated Mr Manohar (Shashank Manohar’s father) to present India’s case before the ICC. That was the stature of @BCCI‘s legal representation those days. #RIP
— Shamik Chakrabarty (@shamik100) August 24, 2019
Arun Jaitley’s passion for cricket matched that for politics. Whenever we met at some event, his first query would always be ‘’Score kya hai?’’ He was a benefactor of Indian cricket and cricketers. RIP
— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) August 24, 2019
An article by Business Standard gave a tour of Jaitley’s office. “There were no pictures of gods and goddesses in this office. Instead, there were framed replicas of legal certificates and mementos from various cricket associations, testifying to the other love of his life,” it said.
The former Union Minister was not only a follower of the sport, but a part of it as well. Less than two years after he became a member of Delhi and Districts Cricket Association, and a few months after he became a Union Minister in 1999, he was appointed the president of the association, a post he held for 13 years.
DDCA is a body that promotes cricket in Delhi and the surrounding districts. He was also the Vice-President of BCCI for a short stint in 2013.
Jaitley’s love-hate relationship with cricket bodies
There were allegations of financial and other irregularities in the DDCA during Jaitley’s tenure as president between 1999-2013.
The controversy came to the fore in August 2009, when Virender Sehwag, then a star opener on the Indian team, and other cricketers including Gautam Gambhir, Ashish Nehra and Ishant Sharma, threatened to quit the Delhi team over alleged rampant nepotism and corruption.
He had then held the position of vice-president of BCCI, but resigned after the Lalit Modi-IPL spot-fixing scandal in 2013.
Years later when he was accused of corruption by the Aam Aadmi Party, Jaitley had denied any wrongdoing and defended his achievements as DDCA president.
” I am proud of the fact I created a permanent asset for Delhi otherwise where would international matches and IPL be held,” Jaitley had said in an interview with Indian Express.