Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said former Union Minister Arun Jaitley, who died at 66, "had an unbreakable bond" with the BJP. PM Modi in a tweet praised Mr Jaitley for his contributions to the nation right from his days as a student leader during the Emergency years of 1975-77, when the Congress's Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister.
"BJP and Arun Jaitley Ji had an unbreakable bond. As a fiery student leader, he was at forefront of protecting our democracy during the Emergency. He became a much liked face of our Party, who could articulate the Party programmes and ideology to a wide spectrum of society," tweeted PM Modi, who is in the UAE as part of a three-nation visit.
BJP and Arun Jaitley Ji had an unbreakable bond. As a fiery student leader, he was at forefront of protecting our democracy during the Emergency. He became a much liked face of our Party, who could articulate the Party programmes and ideology to a wide spectrum of society.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 24, 2019
PM Modi spoke with Mr Jaitley's family, who requested him not to cut short his important visit, which includes returning to France for the G7 Summit, news agency ANI reported.
After completing schooling from St Xavier's School in Delhi in 1957-69, Mr Jaitley went to Shri Ram College of Commerce in 1973 and got a law degree from the University of Delhi in 1977. He was president of the students' union of Delhi University in 1974, a year before the Emergency.
"In an era where Congress Party had a strangle hold over university campuses, my election as an ABVP candidate marked a watershed in the student politics in the country," Mr Jaitley wrote on his website. Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) is the student wing of the BJP's ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
"The imposition of Emergency is by far the darkest chapter in our democracy. The suspension of civil liberties represented a draconian mindset of the British Raj. Like every right thinking citizen, I raised my voice against this grossly undemocratic step. I escaped arrest in the early hours of 26th June 1975 and organised the first protest against the Emergency that day and was arrested. I underwent imprisonment for 19 months in the Tihar jail," Mr Jaitley wrote of his young political days in his brief bio on his website.
"The days in jail unravelled the different facets of life before me as I interacted with people coming from diverse backgrounds. It gave me a certain insight in to the working of the human mind, which would stand me in good stead in my later life," he said.
Mr Jaitley, like former Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, who died in August 6, was known to be part of senior BJP leader LK Advani's core team. But it was his bond with PM Modi, cemented by his role as a bridge between Gujarat and New Delhi, which fuelled his rapid rise.
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