India, Aug. 25 -- At 6 am every December 28, a motley group of politicians, lawyers, journalists and businessmen used to assemble at the green coloured benches across the Bada Gumbad in Lodhi Gardens to celebrate Arun Jaitely's birthday. Usually dressed in a branded woollen jacket with a golf cap, the BJP leader would begin his birthday with his Lodhi Garden morning-walk friends and with sweetened milk tea, lemonade, cake, bread pakoras and an assortments of sweets. Even though he was a diabetic, for many years, Jaitley would not let the opportunity pass and used to dig into pakoras and sweets. For the past five years, though, the cakes were sugar-free and he would barely partake of the goodies.

In 2014, after he took over as defence and...