The suave, sophisticated and articulate lawyer-turned-politician, Arun Jaitley, 61, is among the few BJP leaders who share a good rapport with Narendra Modi. Ties between the two party heavyweights go back a long way.
In the early 1990s, Mr Modi was an up-and-coming BJP leader, while Mr Jaitley had earned his name as a lawyer with a bright future. Party old-timers recall that the two leaders used to spend a lot of free time together, roaming around the streets of Delhi on Mr Jaitley's scooter.
It is a measure of Mr Modi's trust in his old friend that, despite losing the Lok Sabha election from Amritsar, Mr Jaitley has been given such top posts in the Union Cabinet. Along with Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari and Amit Shah, Mr Jaitley has come to form the core team of Mr Modi. On crucial issues, it is Mr Jaitley's advice which is sought, and cherished.
After the Vajpayee government was voted out of power, Mr Jaitley was made a BJP general secretary. He also became its chief spokesman, articulating the party's views on critical issues with dexterity. In 2009, he replaced Jaswant Singh as Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha.
Mr Jaitley was one of the earliest backers of Mr Modi.
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