New Delhi: The octogenarian BJP veteran Lalchand Kishenchand Advani, popularly known as Lal Krishna Advani, might have his forte in politics but it is no exaggeration to call him a man of multi-faceted interests. Besides being a master in politics, Advani is a noted political commentator, a famous blogger, a big cricket fan and a movie buff too.
Advani is known as iron man of BJP owing to his uncompromising stand when it comes to his principles. It clearly reflected in 2005 after his comments praising founder of Pakistan, MA Jinnah. Despite tremendous pressure, Advani denied to apologize and chose to resign from the post of BJP president. Justifying his comments, he wrote a chapter in his autobiography- “My Country My Life” titled ‘I don’t regret’.
A veteran Indian politician and senior leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Advani has been one of the foremost voices in Indian politics. Known for his aggressive brand of politics and for advocating Hindutva, Advani is credited for the rise of BJP from only two Lok Sabha members in 1984-85 to principal Opposition party in 1991 and a ruling alliance leader from 1998 to 2004.
His ambitious political journey, spanning over six decades, has been eventful with even bumpy times. Advani had been in a slew of controversies ranging from his controversial comment on Jinnah in 2005, the Hawala scandal of 1996 and Babri Masjid demolition in 1992, but his political career graph rose regardless of these controversies. Advani has risen to every occasion when it comes to nationalism.
His intellectualism and rock-firm principles have helped him sail through all odds. A man of strength, power and determination, Advani continues to rule many hearts including his rivals as well as the budding youths.
Advani was born to Kishanchand D. Advani and Gyani Devi on 8 November 1927 and grew up in pre-partitioned Sindh. While studying in St.Patrick's School, Karachi, his patriotic ideals inspired him to join the Rashtriya Swayamasevak Sangh (RSS) at an early age of fourteen.
He graduated in Law from Government Law College, Bombay University. He completed his Master's in Sociology from Mumbai University. Advani was an able teacher and a noted journalist.
After joining RSS, Advani’s political career took off when he was elected as the Secretary of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. In the next few years, he was appointed as a member of Bharatiya Jana Sangh. After serving various roles in the party, he was finally elected as its President.
Later the Jana Sangh united with other political parties to become the Janata Party. Advani’s political career touched new heights after the Janata Party came to power in 1977. He became the Minister of Information and Broadcasting during the Janata Party rule.
Soon after, inner animosity grew within the Janata Party and this led to the birth of Bharatiya Janata Party. Advani and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was his good colleague, became prominent faces of the newly formed party.
In the year 1986, LK Advani was appointed as the BJP president.
1927: Was born in Karachi.
1936-1942: Studied at St. Patricks School, Karachi.
1942: Joined the RSS as a Swayamsevak.
1944: Held a job as a teacher in Model High School, Karachi.
1947: Left from Sindh to Delhi.
1947-1951: Organized RSS work in Alwar, Bharatpur, Kota, Bundi and Jhalawar as RSS Secretary in the Karachi branch.
1958-1963: Held the position of Secretary of the Delhi State Jana Sangh.
1960-1967: Joined the Organiser, a political journal of the Jana Sangh as assistant editor.
1965: Married Smt. Kamla Advani and has two children, Pratibha and Jayant.
1970: Entered the Rajya Sabha.
1972: Was elected President of Bharatiya Jana Sangh.
1975: Was Arrested in Bangalore during Emergency period and taken to Bangalore Central Jail along with other BJS members.
1977-1979: Held the position of Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting.
1986: Became Party President of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
1980-1986: Held the position of General Secretary of the BJP.
1986: Was announced as party President of the BJP.
1988: Was re-elected party president of the BJP and held the position of Home minister in the BJP Government.
1990: Began the Ram Rath Yatha from Somnath to Ayodhya.
1997: Began the Swarna Jayanti Rath Yathra to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of India's Independence.
1999-2004: Held the position of Deputy Prime Minister.
2004-2009: Was Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha
Advani, also called the iron man of BJP, changed the face of the party by taking it to new heights. He took the party’s ideology ‘Hindutva’ in a more aggressive form. This benefitted the BJP in standing firm against the Congress Party which has been in power for most of the times since independence.
Riding on the chariot of Ram Janmabhumi movement led by LK Advani, the Bharatiya Janata Party improved its tally in the Lok Sabha from mere two seats in 1984 to 85 seats in 1989. In 1991 general elections, the BJP rose up to acquire the space of the India’s principal opposition party by winning 120 seats. Advani was the president of BJP in 1991.
Advani was leader of opposition for most period of the 10th Lok Sabha (1991 to 1996). He led his party in the house so effectively it won hearts of the millions of the people of the country. In the next general election for the 11th Lok Sabha, BJP emerged as the single-largest party and it came to power, though, for mere 13 days under the leadership of another iconic party leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The BJP came back to power with a bang in 1998 under the coalition governance of NDA. Advani was appointed as the Deputy Prime Minister. However, charges of scams and controversies weakened NDA’s position and gave ways to the Congress in 2004 General Elections.
Prime Ministerial ambitions
Advani was the second most popular of BJP after Atal Bihari Vajpayee. After the retirement of Vajpayeeji from active politics owing to his ailment, Advaniji was the obvious choice of the party cadres for the party’s prime ministerial candidate. He was declared as BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate for 2009 general elections. The party failed to come up to the expectations of the people and lost the poll.
Advani paved way for younger leaders and chose to serve the party. He gave up his position of the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, who stepped into his shoes.
The Veteran BJP leader’s name figured in several controversies ranging from the Jinnah episode, the Hawala scandal and the Babri Masjid demolition. Advani has been in the limelight for his public advocacy of Hindutva, his alleged active role in the demolition of Babri Masjid and his much-criticised appreciation of Mohammad Ali Jinnah in 2005 during his Pakistan visit which badly dented his position in the party and finally he resigned from the post of the party president.
Advani is also popularly known as the Eternal yatri or Eternal Charioteer as he has undertaken six yatras throughout the country till yet.
Ram Rath Yatra is the most famous as well as controversial yatra led by Advani in 1990. Advani’s other yatras include Janadesh Yatra (1993), Swarna Jayanti Rath Yatra (1997), Bharat Uday Yatra (2004), Bharat Suraksha Yatra (2006), Jan Chetna Yatra (2011).
Advani: The leader of Youth
Advani, who has entered in his 86th year, is perhaps the only Indian politician to have leveraged the Barack Obama-style of new media campaigning. He has his website and runs a blog that catches eyeballs of news hunters. His autobiography ‘My Country My Life’ which was released in 19 March 2008 by former president APJ Abdul Kalam was a big success.