Lal Krishna Advani

Lal Krishna Advani, also known as Lalchand Kishenchand Advani  (born 8 November 1927) is an Indian politician and a former president of the Bharatiya Janata Party. He served as the Deputy Prime Minister of India from 2002 to 2004 and is currently the leader of opposition in the 14th Lok Sabha.

Advani, who began his political career as a worker of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, is often credited with having made the BJP a formidable force in Indian politics.

Early life

Lal Krishna Advani was born in Karachi (then British India) to Kishanchand D. Advani and Gyani Devi. Initially, he joined the D.G. National College in Hyderabad, Sindh (now in Pakistan) for his education. He later graduated with a degree from the Government Law College, Bombay University.

Political career

Initial stages
Advani's political career began when he joined the RSS in 1942. He later became the secretary of the organization's Karachi branch. In 1947, Advani was sent to Mewat in Rajasthan, which had witnessed communal violence following partition, to oversea the affairs of the Sangh.

Jana Sangh days

In 195e collapse of the government, Advani became a prominent leader of the newly founded BJP and represented the party in the Rajya Sabha.

The rise of BJP
Advani became the president of the BJP in 1986. He gradually brought in a shift in the party's policies by advocating Hindutva and subsequently, the party came to power in several Indian states. The period that followed also witnessed a change in Indian politics with the Congress party and especially its Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi getting embroiled in the Bofors scandal. After the elections that followed the Rajiv government, BJP decided to support a coalition headed by V P Singh.
Under Advani, the BJP had launched an agitation on the issue of Ramjanmabhoomi. For quite a while it had been the demand of many Hindutva groups that a temple be built at the site of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, which according to them had been built over the ruins of a Rama temple. The movement gained momentum in the early 1990s, when Advani embarked on a "rath yatra" to mobilize "karsevaks" to converge upon the Babri Masjid to offer prayers (During Rajiv Gandhi's reign, an idol of Rama had been installed at the mosque). However, despite assurances given to the government and the supreme court, the edifice was brought down by the "karsevaks". Soon after, Advani was charged with delivering inflammatory speeches to spread communal hatred.
These incidents brought in a huge surge in popularity for the BJP, especially among the rural masses of North India, though at the cost of party's secular credentials. In the general elections that preceded the Ayodhya incident BJP had won the most number of seats after the Congress party.
BJP, under Advani, sat in opposition from 1992-1996 during the reign of P V Narasimha Rao. The Rao regime was marred by accusations of corruptions and various scandals and BJP made good use of all these issues to project itself as the only corruption free alternative to the Congress.
After the 1996 general elections, the BJP became the single largest party and was consequently invited by the President to form government. Atal Behari Vajpayee was sworn in as Prime Minister in May 1996. However, the government did not last long and resigned in June that year.
BJP, under the umbrella of NDA, again came to power with Vajpayee as PM in March 1998, when elections were called after India saw two unstable governments headed H D Deve Gowda and I K Gujral respectively. Advani assumed the office of Home Minister and was later elevated to the position of Deputy Prime Minister. As union minister Advani had a tough time with India facing a string of internal disturbances in the form of terror attacks and communal riots. Earlier, Advani had been exonerated in the Jain-Hawala scandal.
BJP suffered a shocking defeat in the general elections held in 2004, and was made to sit in the opposition with Advani as the leader. The NDA disintegrated with the Telugu Desam Party, which had supported their government from the outside, deserting the alliance.
During this period, Advani had to deal with opposition from within the party. His two close associates, Uma Bharati, and Madan Lal Khurana, and long time rival Murali Manohar Joshi public voiced against Advani. In June 2005, Advani drew much criticism when he, while on a visit to the Jinnah Mausoleum at Karachi - his town of birth, allegedly endorsed Mohammad Ali Jinnah and described him a secular leader. This did not sit well with the RSS and Advani relinquished his post a BJP president. However, he withdrew the resignation a few days later.
The relationship between Advani and the RSS reached a low point when K S Sudarshan, opined that both Advani and Vajpayee give way to new leaders. At the Silver Jubilee celebrations of the BJP in Mumbai in December 2005, Advani stepped down as party president and Rajnath Singh, a leader from Uttar Pradesh was elected in his place. In March 2006, following a bomb blast at one of the holiest Hindu shrines at Varanasi, Advani undertook a "Bharat Suraksha Yatra"(Sojourn for National Security), to highlight the alleged failure of the ruling UPA in combating terror.

Prime Minister candidacy

In an interview with a news channel in December 2006, L.K. Advani stated that as the Leader of the Opposition in a parliamentary democracy, he considered himself as the Prime Ministerial candidate for the general elections, scheduled for early 2009. This public revelation irritated some of his colleagues who were not supportive of his candidacy. In previous remarks, party spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi had told the press that the BJP would fight the elections under a second-generation leader.
A major factor going in favor of Advani is that he has always been the most powerful leader in the BJP with the exception of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who endorsed Advani's candidacy shortly after the interview was done. On 2 May 2007, BJP President Rajnath Singh, in an interview, stated that: "After Atal there is only Advani. Advani is the natural choice. It is he who should be PM".
On 10 December 2007, the Parliamentary Board of BJP formally announced that L. K. Advani would be its prime ministerial candidate for the General Elections due in May 2009.


Advani has often been accused of incendiary communal leadership. Advani is often credited with forging the BJP in to the powerful political entity that it is today. However, the party, which rose under Advani coinciding with the aggressive assertion of Hindu politics, has met with severe criticism from various quarters.

Jinnah murder conspiracy
It is believed that a criminal case is still pending against Advani and 17 others for allegedly conspiring to assassinate Pakistan's first Governor-General Mohammad Ali Jinnah and other leaders. Advani has been declared an absconder in Jinnah murder conspiracy case.
On 7 June 2005, Advani offered his resignation from his post as BJP President amid controversial comments he is said to have made during a trip to Pakistan. Both Hindu nationalist groups aligned with the BJP and officials from the ruling Congress party lashed out against Advani for his statements.

Babri Masjid demolition and the consequences

In 1980, the BJP launched a movement led by Advani on the issue of the Ram Temple. The BJP demanded that a temple dedicated to Lord Rama be created at the site of a mosque where, according to their claim, a temple stood till Babar's invasion of India in 1528. The mosque there destroyed by Hindu extremists in 1992, sparking riots nationwide that cost 2,000 lives. Speaking to correspondents on his appointment as President of the BJP, Advani said: "We must be candid enough to recognise the Hindu anger that exploded on the streets in the early 1990s has given way to a patient wait for the new temple whose construction, I feel is inevitable." However, he was unable to follow through on this, even during his period as Home Minister of the Republic (1998-2004). The reason often quoted is that the rule was by the NDA government and BJP was only a major part of the coalition government.

Jain-Hawala scandal
Main article: Hawala scandal
L.K. Advani was charged with Jain-Hawala scandal where he allegedly received payments through hawala brokers. He and others were later discharged, because there was no additional evidence which could be used to charge them.[8] According to the judicial inquiry by CBI they could not find any substantive evidences.[8] The failure of this prosecution by the CBI was widely criticized. which some believe catapulted his rise through the BJP on his newfound "moral authority". Some observers have claimed the CBI inquiry was a political stunt.

Published work

In 2008, Advani released a personal autobiography, My Country, My Life. The book was published by Rupa & Co. and released by former Indian president Abdul Kalam on March 19, 2008.



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