(This article has been republished from The Quint’s archives to mark Arun Jaitley’s death anniversary.)
Video Editor: Mohd Irshad Alam
A BJP stalwart known for his oratory, a leader of opposition who did not shy away from giving point-by-point rebuttal to the UPA government’s policies in the Rajya Sabha and Finance and Defence Minister in Modi 1.0 cabinet, here’s taking a look at Arun Jaitley's best speeches in the Parliament.
‘Whole Country Will Become One Integrated Market’
As one of PM Modi's key aides in the NDA govt, Jaitley had shouldered the task of the historic introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), on 1 July, replacing a thicket of indirect central and state levies. Despite initial hiccups, the Modi 1.0 government had managed to have all parties on board.
"The leakages and evasions in this process will reduce over a period of time which will result in an increase of tax base. Both the Centre and state will benefit from this," Jaitley had said in Lok Sabha.
“I am happy that after a lot of efforts over the years, a consensus has been reached and most of the political parties have come out in its support. There will be one tax across the nation. We notice that there are obstacles while transferring goods from one state to another. They will be removed. There will be a seamless transfer of goods and services throughout the country. The whole country will become one integrated market.”
‘Challenge Sibal Ji to Open An FDI Store in His Constituency’
When Manmohan Singh, despite severe opposition, permitted FDI in multi-brand retail and the state governments were allowed to choose whether they would implement the same in the respective states, Jaitley had countered saying that most UPA allies were compelled to give support to FDI.
"Your agriculture minister, an NCP leader, Pawar Sahab has always been a supporter of FDI. I heard a statement from his party in the Maharashtra Assembly that the Maharashtra government cannot roll out FDI in the state," Jaitley had said in Rajya Sabha.
“The elected MPs represent the people of India and most political parties are opposing this. Those who helped your case by abstaining from voting, say that they will not let this roll out in their respective states. Sibal ji spoke yesterday in favour of FDI in retail. I challenge him to open an FDI retail store in his constituency. Elections are around the corner. He can kick off his poll campaigning from the same FDI store. The people of India that you speak on behalf of, will give their verdict on it.”
‘A Commission is Not A Political Pundit’
Participating in the debate on the Liberhan Commission's report on the Babri demolition case in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley had made fun at justice Liberhan and mocked the product of his 17-year-long efforts.
"It is a report which is an exercise in futility. It is a report which almost all the major media in this country has referred to as a 'dud' report. It is a report that the ATR itself indicates that it is an unimplementable document," Jaitley had said in Rajya Sabha.
“The first training of a judge is to never enter the political thicket. He looks at the evidence. He looks at the issue which he has to decide and he links the evidence with the issue and comes to a conclusion. He doesn’t go into political disputes. He doesn’t start commenting on ideologies. The Commission is to give a conclusion on findings and evidence and not to give apolitical opinion. The Commission is a truth-investigator and not a political pundit.”
‘Misappropriations Will Hang Like An Albatross Around Your Neck’
In August 2011, as many as 189 members of the Rajya Sabha had voted in favour of the motion to impeach Justice Soumitra Sen from the Calcutta High Court.
“The Honourable judge says that the committee that the Honourable Chairman appointed mentioned that the judge was a holder of a particular account whereas the account belonged to some other Soumita Sen and he is being hanged because he held an account and the committee attributed the account to him which is in the name of some other Soumitra Sen. You can shout from rooftops that you did not withdraw money but these cheques and the misappropriations will hang like an albatross around your neck,” Jaitley had debated in Rajya Sabha.
“When he comes up before the inquiry and files a detailed reply, even in the reply he does not say that this account belongs to some other Soumitra Sen. It’s only when the bank officials come, his counsel very conveniently puts a question to him that this does not belong to my client, it belongs to somebody else.”
‘We Must Give Up Diplomatic Niceties’
Arun Jaitley had attacked former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after Ottavio Quattrocchi escaped the country and Italian marines managed to flee from the country giving a 'wrong affidavit' in the Supreme Court.
"Two Italian marines who were being prosecuted in Kerala for ostensibly killing Indian fishermen have now absconded and they have absconded as a result of deception and outright fraud which has been practiced on the government of India and on the Indian Supreme Court by a sovereign nation," Jaitley had said in Rajya Sabha.
“I thing we should forget diplomatic niceties. ‘Once is happenstance, twice is a coincidence, three times is enemy action.’ This is James Bond, Ian Fleming’s famous quote. This now must be treated in the category of an enemy action, that you abduct a person, take him out of the jurisdiction of India and then say, India can go to hell, we are not concerned.”