New Delhi: It was on August 18, 2011, when Soumitra Sen, a Calcutta High Court judge, was facing impeachment motion in the Rajya Sabha. Minutes before the proceedings started on the matter, Arun Jaitley, the then leader of the opposition walked in with a huge number of books which looked heavy and new.
Jaitley told the curious reporters that he expended more than Rs 35,000 on books to prepare for the debate. The motion was passed by the Rajya Sabha, but Sen resigned before Lok Sabha took it for discussion.
He undertook parliamentary proceedings very sincerely, Saubhadra Chaterjee of Hindustan Times reported.
Recounting his experiences, Chatterjee wrote that Jaitley’s tenure as Law Minister in Vajpayee government will be remembered for drafting landmark legislation that left a deep impact in Indian politics: the 91st amendment to the Constitution that put restrictions on defections of political leaders.
Jaitley decorated the Opposition benches between 2004 and 2014 in the Rajya Sabha, including when he was the Leader of Opposition (2009 to 2014) in the Upper House while late Sushma Swaraj was his counterpart in the Lower House. Their appointment marked a generational shift in the BJP’s parliamentary party and the rise of a new, fierce Opposition politics.
“There are occasions when obstruction in Parliament brings greater benefits to the country,” Jaitley defended disruptions in parliament. He, however, corrected his position two days later and said, “Parliamentary obstructionism should be avoided. It is a weapon to be used in the rarest of the rare cases.”
Spending many years in the Opposition as well as in the treasury benches had gifted him a holistic vision on Parliament. While speaking on the Congress’s stance on Aadhaar in 2017, Jaitley could make an immortal assessment, “Where you stand [on the issue] depends on where you sit!”...