In a significant announcement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi revealed that veteran BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani will be conferred with the prestigious Bharat Ratna. Expressing joy over the decision, PM Modi commended Advani’s pivotal contribution to India’s development, tracing his remarkable journey from grassroots activism to serving as the Deputy Prime Minister.
A TRAILBLAZER’S RECOGNITION
The announcement comes as a recognition of Advani’s outstanding service to the nation, particularly his roles as the Home Minister and I&B Minister. PM Modi emphasized the importance of Advani’s insightful parliamentary interventions, praising his dedication to the welfare of the country.
FROM KARACHI TO DELHI: ADVANI’S STORIED LIFE
Born on November 8, 1927, in Karachi (present-day Pakistan), L.K. Advani’s journey reflects a commitment to public service. His early years saw him joining the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) at the age of fourteen, marking the beginning of a life dedicated to the nation.
Advani’s political career gained momentum when he became a member of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh in 1951. L.K. Advani’s Presidency
In a significant turn of events within the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, then the party President, contemplated stepping down after the 1971 general elections. Aiming to provide new leadership, Vajpayee approached Shri L.K. Advani in the early months of 1972, urging him to assume the role of party President.
Advani, known for his grounded approach and dedication, hesitated to accept the position. His reluctance stemmed from a perceived lack of oratory prowess, feeling overshadowed by the eloquence of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, a renowned and captivating orator. Public speaking posed a challenge for Advani, who doubted his ability to engage audiences as effectively as his predecessor. In December 1972, Advani formally assumed the role of the President of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh. The transition marked a crucial moment in Advani’s political career, propelling him into a leadership position where he would navigate the party through dynamic political landscapes.
CO-FOUNDER OF BJP: SHAPING THE POLITICAL LANDSCAPE
In 1980, Advani played a pivotal role in the founding of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), alongside Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Serving as the party’s president three times, he contributed significantly to the BJP’s rise as a major political force in India. On April 5-6, 1980, over 3,500 delegates convened at Delhi’s Ferozeshah Kotla ground, infusing the air with determination and purpose. The consensus was clear: the birth of a new political entity named the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee assumed the role of its inaugural President, and Shri L.K. Advani, along with Sikandar Bakht and Suraj Bhan, took on the responsibilities of General Secretary. The early 1980s saw the emergence of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and its movement advocating the construction of a temple dedicated to Lord Rama at the Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya. Shri L.K. Advani played a pivotal role, steering the BJP into becoming the political face of the Ram Janmabhoomi campaign. The movement revolved around the belief that the Mughal emperor Babur had demolished a pre-existing Hindu temple to construct the Babri mosque. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) supported the claim of a Hindu structure at the site, refraining from commenting on the demolition aspect.
ELECTORAL INFLUENCE AND OPPOSITION ROLE
The 1988 elections saw the Congress winning a plurality but declining to form a government. The National Front government, led by VP Singh, took charge, with crucial support from the BJP’s 86 seats. Shri L.K. Advani continued to lead the party through the 1991 general elections, where the BJP emerged as the primary opposition party during P.V. Narasimha Rao’s tenure.
MINISTERIAL TENURE AND LEADERSHIP
Advani’s impact extended to the corridors of power, where he served as the Deputy Prime Minister from 2002 to 2004. His tenure as the Minister of Home Affairs (1998-2004) showcased his resilience and leadership during challenging times, including internal disturbances and rebel attacks.