Even in the best of times, writing about Arun Jaitley is a treacherous exercise—like walking into a landmine an advance party has marked out. Last year, when a less-than-flattering profile of the portly Union finance minister appeared, the few advertisements the publication received from PSU banks apparently started drying up because someone made phone calls from North Block. There is, of course, nothing to prove gossip like that. And Jaitley himself, as a raconteur who loves a good story—a ‘neta’ who cut his teeth during Indira Gandhi’s emergency—would be loath to having his name associated with such perfidy. After all, he is also the I&B minister, and has been reassuring the nation that censorship would be impossible today. But gossip has a strange way of revealing the Freudian part of truth.
And, as the gossip mills start whirring with news of a cabinet reshuffle, the buzz is if the RSS was sending signals to Narendra Modi on the man it has always considered a bit of an interloper in the BJP. The PM’s televised rap on Subramanian Swamy’s knuckles may have resulted in a cessation of hostilities in Twitterdom. Jaitley might yet retain his main job when portfolios are rejigged, but, clearly, the leader of the house in the Rajya Sabha, who often rants against the “tyranny of the unelected”, has had to rely on the PM to yank him out of the line of fire of an ‘unelected’ RS colleague—and his ‘unelected’ RSS backers.