A lawyer by profession, Arun Jaitley has been the most important leader in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Cabinet during its first tenure. He has often acted as the chief troubleshooter for the government.
The firebrand leader, who died on Saturday, was a leader who fit many roles in his long political leader. Arun Jaitley's political career was peppered with relentless reforms driven, such as GST and demonetisation.
During his tenure as the finance minister of India, the government demonetised the Rs 500- and Rs 1,000- banknotes with the stated intention of curbing corruption, black money, fake currency and terrorism -- with effect from November 9, 2016.
In his 2015-16 budget speech, Jaitley announced Ayushman Bharat Scheme with a coverage of Rs 1 lakh to families.
In 2012, Jaitley, outside the premises of Parliament, said, "There are occasions when obstruction in Parliament brings greater benefits to the country."
This statement is considered to have given legitimacy to obstruction of Parliament in the contemporary politics in India.
Interestingly, Jaitley wanted to become a Chartered Accountant, before starting his legal career. In 1990, the Delhi High Court designated Jaitley as a senior advocate.
Jaitley had also been the student leader of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) at the Delhi University campus and rose to be the president of the Students Union of Delhi University in 1974.
During the period of Emergency (1975–77) when fundamental rights were suspended, Jaitley was under preventive detention for a period of 19 months.
In 1973, he became a prominent leader of a movement against corruption launched by Raj Narain and Jayaprakash Narayan. Jaitley was also the convenor of the National Committee for Students and Youth organization appointed by Jayaprakash Narayan.
He had also been active in the civil rights movement and had helped to found PUCL Bulletin along with Satish Jha and Smitu Kothari. Just after being released from jail, he joined the Jana Sangh.
Being the convenor of the Loktantric Yuva Morcha at a time when the Congress suffered defeat, Jaitley was appointed the president of the Delhi ABVP and All India Secretary of the ABVP in 1977, and was then made the president of the youth wing of the BJP and the secretary of the Delhi Unit in 1980, within a short time after joining the party.
In 1989, he was appointed as additional solicitor general by the VP Singh government and did the paperwork for the investigations into the Bofors scandal.
He has authored several write-ups on legal and current affairs. He has presented a paper on the law relating to corruption and crime in India before the Indo-British Legal Forum.
In 1998, Arun Jaitley was a delegate on behalf of the government of India in the United Nation General Assembly session in which the bill against drugs and money laundering was introduced.
Given his political duties as Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Jaitley stopped practising law in June 2009.
Since 1991, he had been a member of the national executive of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Jaitley became the spokesperson of the BJP during the period preceding the 1999 general election.