New Delhi: Trinamool Congress (TMC) lawmaker Derek O'Brien went down the memory lane and recalled late BJP leader and former union minister Arun Jaitley's witty sense of humour while paying tributes to him at the Rajya Sabha.
In a special session to remember its sitting and former members in the Upper House of the Parliament, O'Brien narrated two anecdotes and termed Jaitley as a "mentor" despite having stark ideological differences.
"I was sitting in the Central Hall with four to five journalists and told them that we have got a new name for Arun Jaitley ji...and that is plantation manager. I told them why. So being a comparatively junior MP, I thought he would be very upset. In the next morning, he saw me and said 'hey you called me a plantation manager, that was very funny'", the lawmaker said in the House in a light moment.
"We lightheartedly called him plantation manager because he was sitting in the Parliament and planting stories in the media. The way he reacted to it, was very positive with a good sense of humour," he said.
O'Brien recalled an incident where Jaitley wanted to escape arrest during Emergency in the 1970s.
"...He told us the story of the Emergency and he had to disappear somewhere. He was supposed to get on to his friend's scooter across the wall and disappear to avoid arrest. Everything went as per the plan and when he crossed the wall, there was no friend or no scooter. He did not know what to do. So, in a typical Arun Jaitley style, he walked back, had tea and biscuits. The police came in 10 minutes and took him away," he said.
O'Brien also said that Jaitley taught the parliamentarians not to get personal during discussions and stressed the need to focus on tone and tenor of debates.
"He was polar opposite in terms of ideology across the floor in Rajya Sabha, an occasional dualist with us in the media. Yet for many of us, he was a mentor in the Parliament and advised many of us on tone and tenor of the debate. He said that everything else you do, but never get personal," the TMC MP remarked.
Jaitley, who served as finance minister in the first tenure of the Narendra Modi-led government, breathed his last on August 24 at AIIMS in the national capital after suffering from health issues. He was 66 and served as the Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha from 2014 to 2019.
Apart from Jaitley, the Rajya Sabha paid rich tributes to Jagannath Mishra, Sukhdev Singh Libra, Ram Jethmalani and Gurudas Dasgupta, who served as lawmakers in the Upper House of the Parliament.
After Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu gave obituary references to its sitting and former members, MPs present in the House paid homage to the distinguished parliamentarians.