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Lal Krishna Advani, born on 8th November 1927, is a prominent Indian politician who held the position of the 7th Deputy Prime Minister of India from 2002 to 2004.

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Lal Krishna Advani Biography- Early Life, Education, Family, Career, Bharat Ratna 2024

He played a crucial role as one of the co-founders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and is affiliated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a right-wing Hindu nationalist volunteer organization. With an extensive political career, Advani holds the record for being the longest-serving Minister of Home Affairs, serving from 1998 to 2004.

He also holds the distinction of being the longest-serving Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha. Advani was the prime ministerial candidate of the BJP during the 2009 general election.

Born in Karachi, Advani migrated to India during the Partition of India and settled in Bombay, where he completed his college education. He joined the RSS in 1941 at the age of fourteen and worked as a Pracharak in Rajasthan.

Advani became a member of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh in 1951, founded by Syama Prasad Mookerjee, and took on various roles, including in charge of parliamentary affairs, general secretary, and president of the Delhi unit. In 1967, he was elected as the chairman of the First Delhi Metropolitan Council, serving until 1970, all while being a member of the RSS national executive.

In 1970, Advani became a member of the Rajya Sabha for the first time, serving four terms until 1989. He became the president of the Jan Sangh in 1973, and later, Jana Sangh merged into the Janata Party before the 1977 general election. After the Janata Party’s victory in the elections, Advani assumed the roles of the union minister for Information and Broadcasting and leader of the house in the Rajya Sabha.

In 1980, Advani was a founding member of the BJP, along with Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and served as the president of the party three times. He was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time in 1989 and went on to serve seven terms. Advani held the position of leader of the opposition in both houses.

He served as the minister of home affairs from 1998 to 2004 and as the deputy prime minister from 2002 to 2004. His tenure in the Indian parliament extended until 2019, and he is credited for the rise of the BJP as a major political party. In 2015, he was honored with the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian honor, and in 2024, he was conferred with the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honor.

Lal Krishna Advani Biography

Name L.K. Advani
Real Name Lal Krishna Advani
Birth 8 November 1927
Birthplace Karachi, British India (now in Pakistan)
96 year
Father Kishanchand D. Advani
Mother Gyani Devi
Siblings Younger sister Shila,
Wife Kamla Advani (m. February 1965; d. 6 April 2016)
Children Son: Jayant, Daughter: Pratibha
Son-in-law Kailash Thadani
Political Affiliation Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)
Post Deputy Prime Minister of India (2002–2004), Minister of Home Affairs (1998–2004)
Awards Padma Vibhushan (2015), Bharat Ratna (2024)
Writing Assignment My Country My Life, an autobiographical by L.K. Advani was released by A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on March 19th, 2008
Lal Krishna Advani: New Approaches to Security & Development
Lal Krishna Advani: A Prisoner’s Scrap – Book

Early Life and Education of Lal Krishna Advani

Lal Krishna Advani, born on 8th November 1927 in Karachi, British India, belonged to a Sindhi Hindu family with parents Kishanchand D. Advani and Gyani Devi. His educational journey took place at St. Patrick’s High School, Karachi, and D.G. National College, Hyderabad, Sindh. The partition of India led to his family’s migration to Bombay, where he pursued a degree in Law from the Government Law College of Bombay University.

In February 1965, Advani tied the knot with Kamla Advani, and the couple had two children – a son named Jayant and a daughter named Pratibha. Pratibha, actively involved in television production, also lends support to her father’s political endeavors. Unfortunately, Kamla Advani passed away on 6th April 2016 due to old age. Lal Krishna Advani currently resides in Delhi.

Career Timeline of Lal Krishna Advani

1941-51: Early Years- Lal Krishna Advani embarked on his political journey by joining the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) at the age of fourteen in 1941. He played a significant role as a Pracharak, conducting shakhas and later becoming the secretary of the Karachi unit. After the partition of India, he continued his Pracharak duties in Rajasthan until 1952.

1951-70: Jana Sangh and DMC Chairman- Advani’s involvement in politics deepened as he became a member of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS) in 1951. Serving in various capacities, he played roles such as the general secretary and later, president of the Delhi unit of the Jana Sangh. From 1966 to 1967, he led the BJS in the Delhi Metropolitan Council, eventually becoming its chairman until 1970.

1971-75: Parliament Entry and Jan Sangh Leader- Advani entered the Rajya Sabha in 1970 and assumed the role of the president of BJS in 1973. He played a crucial part in the Janata Party after its formation in response to the Emergency imposed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The party’s victory in the 1977 election led to Morarji Desai becoming the Prime Minister, with Advani taking on the position of Minister of Information and Broadcasting.

1976-80: Janata Party and Cabinet Minister- Re-elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1976, Advani continued his political journey. The Janata Party faced challenges, leading to its dissolution in 1980. Subsequently, Advani became the leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha.

1981-89: Formation of BJP and Early Years- In April 1980, Advani, along with former Jana Sangh members, founded the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Elected to the Rajya Sabha for the third time in 1982, he played a pivotal role in shaping the BJP’s ideology. Under his leadership, the BJP gained prominence in the Ayodhya dispute, advocating for the construction of a temple at the Ram Janmabhoomi site.

1990-97: Rath Yatra and Rise of BJP- In 1990, Advani initiated the Ram Rath Yatra, a chariot procession for the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, contributing to the rise of the BJP.

The BJP became the second-largest party in the 1991 general election, with Advani leading as the opposition leader.

In 1992, the Babri Masjid was demolished, leading to allegations against Advani, later acquitted in the demolition case in 2020.

1998-2004: Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister

The BJP-led NDA came to power in 1998, with Vajpayee as Prime Minister and Advani as the Home Minister.
In 1999, the NDA won again, and Advani became the Deputy Prime Minister in 2002.

2004-09: Leader of Opposition

The BJP faced defeat in the 2004 general election, and Advani became the leader of the opposition.
In 2005, Advani resigned as BJP president but withdrew later, and in 2005, he stepped down, with Rajnath Singh succeeding him.

2009-15: Prime Minister Candidacy and Later Years

In 2009, Advani contested as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate but faced defeat.
He handed over the leader of the opposition position in 2009 and was elected working chairman of the National Democratic Alliance in 2010.

Despite contesting and winning in the 2014 general election, Advani took a backseat in the Marg Darshak Mandal of the BJP.

Rath Yatras by L.K. Advani

1. Ram Rath Yatra (1990)

  • Started from Somnath, Gujarat, on 25 September 1990.
  • Concluded at Ayodhya on 30 October 1990.
  • Linked to the Ram Janmabhoomi dispute.
  • Stopped in Bihar by CM Lalu Yadav, leading to Advani’s arrest.

2. Janadesh Yatra (1993)

  • Four processions started on 11 September 1993 from different corners of the country.
  • Advani led the yatra from Mysore in South India.
  • Traversed 14 states and two Union Territories.
  • Aimed to seek people’s mandate against two bills, the Constitution 80th Amendment Bill, and the Representation of People (Amendment) Bill, concluding at Bhopal on 25 September.

3. Swarna Jayanti Rath Yatra (1997)

  • Conducted between May and July 1997.
  • Celebrated 50 years of Indian Independence.
  • Projected BJP as a party committed to good governance.

4. Bharat Uday Yatra (2004)

  • Held in the run-up to the 2004 election.

5. Bharat Suraksha Yatra (2006)

  • Launched from Dwaraka, Gujarat, to Delhi by Advani.
  • Another yatra led by Rajnath Singh from Puri to Delhi.
  • Focused on issues like left-wing terrorism, minority politics, price rise, corruption, and protection of democracy.

6. Jan Chetna Yatra (2011)

  • Launched on 11 October 2011 from Sitab Diara, Bihar.
  • Aimed to mobilize public opinion against corruption in the ruling UPA government.
  • Promoted the BJP agenda of good governance and clean politics.

The demolition of Babri Masjid was called the saddest day

Lal Krishna Advani is a prominent figure in Indian politics, renowned for influencing the political landscape of his era with his unwavering nationalist views and impactful “Rath Yatras” (chariot journeys). He played a pivotal role in establishing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as a formidable force on the national stage through the politics of Hindutva, amid debates on secularism.

Advani was honored with the ‘Bharat Ratna,’ India’s highest civilian award, nine years after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee received the same accolade. Their joint leadership of the Janata Sangh and later the BJP for over five decades played a crucial role in shaping the political landscape of the country. The announcement of Advani’s honor came in the same year as the consecration ceremony of the Ram temple in Ayodhya.

The Ram temple consecration holds deep emotional significance for the BJP, symbolizing the victorious culmination of a highly emotive issue. Advani’s “Ram Rath Yatra” in 1990 was instrumental in popularizing the BJP and establishing it as a major political force, particularly in Uttar Pradesh.

In 1992, despite communal tensions, the popularity of the Rath Yatra helped the BJP gain power in significant states, solidifying its position as a major political force. This marked a turning point in Indian politics, leading to the party’s substantial presence in major states.

Before the BJP took up the Ram temple issue, various Hindu organizations, including the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, were already advocating for its construction. Advani’s Rath Yatra is credited with transforming it into a mass movement, with Modi himself being a key organizer. Phrases like “pseudo-secularism” and “politics of appeasement” may or may not have originated from Advani, but he indeed popularized them in Hindutva politics.

Advani’s contemporaries praised him as a political strategist and an organizational builder. Under his leadership, the BJP, during its Palampur convention in 1989, adopted a resolution supporting the construction of the temple, fully backing the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, considered the birthplace of Lord Ram.

Despite facing criticism for veering towards right-wing politics, the BJP’s dismal performance in the 1984 Lok Sabha elections disappointed its workers. The popularity of Advani’s Rath Yatra in 1990, despite communal tensions, strengthened the BJP, establishing it as a dominant force in states like Uttar Pradesh and solidifying its presence in other major states.

In 1992, the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya by a mob marked Advani’s ‘most sorrowful’ day, as the Congress government at the center dismissed the governments of all four states ruled by the BJP, leading to political turmoil and legal challenges.

Known as the ‘Hindu Heartthrob,’ a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Pracharak, whose organizational skills and ideological clarity made a harmonious connection with the more moderate Vajpayee, Advani received accolades for his virtues even from critics in public life. After the infamous Hawala Diary implicated Advani, he resigned from his parliamentary position.

Following serious allegations against some of his associates, including then Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, Advani was urged to step down. A leader said that in 1995 when the party was completely behind him, choosing Vajpayee as the face of the BJP for the Prime Minister’s post was indeed a step towards “putting the party before himself.”

Ironically, the person who played a crucial role in bringing the politics of Hindutva into the mainstream had doubts about his political return when it seemed that the BJP, after an unexpected defeat in the 2004 elections to the Congress, had stabilized in a strong position. He made efforts to create a more liberal and secular image in the party before the 2014 elections.

During his Pakistan visit in 2005, Advani received accolades at the mausoleum of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, in Karachi. He claimed that they were the ambassadors of secularism and Hindu-Muslim unity, the proponents of the two-nation theory. Karachi is also Advani’s birthplace.

Advani’s comments significantly damaged his Hindutva-oriented image, and many believe that his association with the RSS had a lasting impact. He criticized the intervention of the Hindu nationalist organization in BJP politics on several occasions. Credit is given to him within the party for preparing a generation of leaders, including those who supported Modi to remain Chief Minister of Gujarat after the 2002 riots.

He was the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate in the 2009 general elections, but with insufficient support, the party, with an active role of the RSS, ultimately decided to sideline him, and he was replaced by Modi in the run-up to the 2014 elections.

Advani’s displeasure with Modi’s rise and political acumen weakened him within the party, as party workers circled this leader from Gujarat (Modi), who, with his development and adept use of the politics of Hindutva, brought the BJP to a height that an experienced leader would have considered impossible.

However, acknowledging Advani’s significant role within the ruling party and in the country’s politics emphasizes the acceptance of his pivotal role in the political landscape.

Positions Held by L.K. Advani

Year Positions
1967–70 Chairman, Metropolitan Council, Delhi
1970–72 President, Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS), Delhi
1970–76 First term, Rajya Sabha
1973–77 President, Bharatiya Jana Sangh
1976–82 Second term, Rajya Sabha
1977 General Secretary, Janata Party
1977–79 Union Cabinet Minister, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting
1977–79 Leader of the House, Rajya Sabha
1980–86 General Secretary, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
1980–86 Leader, Bharatiya Janata Party, Rajya Sabha
1976–82 Third term, Rajya Sabha
1986–91 President, Bharatiya Janata Party
1988–89 Fourth term, Rajya Sabha
1989-91 Elected to 9th Lok Sabha (first term) and Leader of the Opposition, Lok Sabha
1991 Elected to 10th Lok Sabha (second term)
1991–93 Leader of the Opposition, Lok Sabha
1993–98 President, Bharatiya Janata Party
1998 Elected to 12th Lok Sabha (third term)
1998–99 Union Cabinet Minister, Home Affairs
1999 Elected to 13th Lok Sabha (fourth term)
1999–2004 Union Cabinet Minister, Home Affairs
2002–2004 Deputy Prime Minister of India
2002 Union Cabinet Minister, Coal and Mines
2003–2004 Union Cabinet Minister, Personnel, Pensions and Public Grievances
2004 Elected to 14th Lok Sabha (fifth term)
2009 Elected to 15th Lok Sabha (sixth term)
2009 Leader of Opposition, Lok Sabha
2014 Elected to 16th Lok Sabha (seventh term)

Awards and Recognition

  • Padma Vibhushan (2015): Government of India
  • Bharat Ratna (2024): Government of India

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