It was January 5, 2018, the last day of a raucous winter session of Parliament which witnessed a slugfest between the BJP and the Congress-led opposition on the triple talaq bill, when a cake was ushered into Arun Jaitley’s chamber that evening. It was Congress deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma’s birthday.
It reflected how Jaitley pursued his politics with a personal touch. He would vociferously oppose the stands of rival parties, but would never forsake individual niceties, which helped him build bridges and make friends across the political spectrum.
Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh puts it succinctly: "Arun Jaitley was every non-BJP person’s favourite BJP-ite."
Jaitley, 66, died on Saturday at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), where he had been undergoing treatment for a few weeks.
Jaitley, who many believed had more friends outside his party than within the BJP, was known to be an affable person.
His rapport with opposition leaders was such that …
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