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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

L'affaire Jaitley


When it comes to the subject of Arun Jaitley, I drop all pretensions of objectivity. I regard him as a close friend, a well-wisher and, at times, my guide to the world of politics. I camped with him in Ahmedabad for nearly a fortnight during the 2007 Gujarat Assembly election; I also spent 10 days helping him out during the Karnataka Assembly election last summer.

It is not that I agree with him at all times. In the last fortnight, we had sharply divergent perspectives on the happenings in Orissa. But our serious disagreements are laced with humorous bantering. He never questions my motives and I have no doubt of his unimpeachable integrity.

Over the past few days Jaitley has been in the news for all wrong reasons. His objection to the appointment of a BJP co-convenor for the North-eastern states has become the prism through which the party is being viewed in the media. If any other BJP had raised objections or chosen to register a protest, the matter would have been a footnote in the media. With Jaitley it is different. He is a media darling and his protest has predictably hogged the airwaves.

It would amount to breaking people's confidences if I narrate the details of the controversy. There are just a few points I would like to underline. These may help people make up their own minds about the kerfuffle.

1. Politics is not the be-all and end-all for Jaitley. He is one of India's most successful lawyers; he is up to his neck in cricket administration; and he loves interaction with friends, most of whom are not directly involved in politics. Unlike most politicians, he has a life outside politics. He can afford to take moral positions.

2. Jaitley has a fierce sense of right and wrong. Like his political colleague Narendra Modi he can be uncompromising. His affable exterior conceals a a firmly cemented spine.

3. Jaitley is central to the BJP's election management. He is the bridge to NDA partners such as Nitish Kumar in Bihar, the slippery Ajit Singh in Uttar Pradesh and the two Badals in Punjab. He is also the BJP's main fund raiser--a crucial responsibility in these difficult times.

4. Jaitley is unequivocally committed to doing his utmost for the BJP campaign. He believes that he owes it to L.K. Advani. He is impatient with the "semi-final election" theory.

At this juncture it is imprudent to say anything more. People can draw their own conclusions.


Anonymous said...

the sooner the trojan horse rajnath is kicked out, the better it is for BJP.

Anonymous said...

I am delighted to discover your blog. Thanks. Long overdue. If only if you could persuade Mr Shourie to blog too.

Saurav Bhasin said...

Jaitley and others of his ilk like Venkaiah naidu are just BROKERS, BROKERS and just that. With no mass base, no popular public support in the ground.

He cannot even win a single loksabha seat on his own.

Just being a darling of the media, darling of cricketers, darling of bollywood stars and carrying swashy Cellphones and owning swashy cars does not make you a strong politician.

Jaitley and his former master Pramod Mahajan are brokers that all political parties must GET RID OFF !

Venkatesh said...


Appreciate your insight on Arun Jaitley's position. DOnt have the inner insight that you have so cant make judgements.

In any case do you think this kind of protest on the part of AJ does any good to the BJP. Cant the protests be done in a more diplomatic way. This entire fracas at least for the time being looks bad on the BJP. I am sure it will all blow over, but looks a disunited front now.

venkatesh said...

By the way SwapanDa, why dont you set up a TV channel to take on the blatantly anti-hindu media. Just a suggestion, apart from the ideological aspect, it is great business sense.

Ajay said...

Sad to see BJP imploding at a time when it is facing probably the most important elections for this country.

If Arun Jaitely himself himself has to resort to such last resort measures, one can only imagine what the state of BJP is on the inside.

Hope LKA steps in to resolve this issue.

Anonymous said...

How come the RSS does not realize that Rajnath is a trojan horse and fix the issue once for all.

What exactly has Rajnath Singh done for the party? He can't make a difference in his home state and needs an alliance to win a LS seat. The sooner he is thrown out the better it is for the BJP.

Jiggs said...


This is so much better, rather then waiting for the stupid moderators of the newspaper that contribute to decide on our comments.

I am deeply shocked and dismayed at the happenings in the BJP. The once famed disciplined which attracted me to the party has vanished.

What infuriates me is the way the senior leadership is washing all this dirty linen in public.

I feel that BJP like in Delhi & Rajasthan assembly election is hell bent on losing to the axis of evil which is in power.


Anonymous said...

Swapan da, you have been writing about this semi final theory for a while. I have been following your writings.

How come RSS which supports Rajnath Singh not know about this? The impression I get is that RSS is keen to get BJP to come to power.

Then they should know about this semi final theory. How come they are so powerless to stop this rot in BJP.

I had read similiar stories about how Rajnath ruined BJP's chances during the trust vote. Yet this guy sticks around to do more damage. If BJP loses from a winning position, it has only itself and RSS to blame.