Lesser-known and interesting facts about Former Deputy Prime Minister of India, Lal Krishna Advani:
Lal Krishna Advani, former Deputy Prime Minister of India who served in the office of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, is an Indian politician and diplomat attributed as one of the key figures in the inception of the Bharatiya Janata Party. He was the harbinger of the widespread endorsement and popularisation of the BJP as a pro-Hindu party in India.
Born on November 8, 1927, in Karachi under the British regime, LK Advani took to politics at a young age. At 14, he volunteered in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh — a Hindu nationalist organisation — marking the commencement of a decades-long political career. He subsequently climbed the ranks to become a full-time member at its arm in Karachi.
As his family migrated to India around the time of partition, Advani settled in Bombay to complete his higher education in Law. Thereafter, he was hauled to the Rajasthan wing of the RSS to dispel the communal animosity that arose in the wake of partition. However, Advani’s first stint in mainstream politics arrived with the inception of the political wing of the RSS in 1951— the Bharatiya Jana Sangh.
Advani was appointed as the party’s secretary for its division in Rajasthan in 1952 and proceeded to steer the party’s political endeavours in the state until 1970 when he was called upon to oversee the BJS unit in Delhi. It was also in this year that Advani became a member of the Rajya Sabha — a position he would occupy for almost two decades.
After resigning from his post as the president of the BJS party, Advani was nominated as the Information and Broadcasting Minister in the Janata Government Cabinet. During his time in office, he embarked upon a path to rectify the damage done to the freedom of the press in India during the period of Emergency imposed by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Hereinafter, he revoked press censorship, rescinded all anti-press regulations sanctioned during the emergency, and institutionalized reforms to shelter the freedom of the media.
The ensuing collapse of the Janata Government made Advani a beacon for many of its political affiliates, who along with Vajpayee formed the BJP in 1980. After finding underwhelming success with its pro-Hindu policies, the BJP adopted a more secular stand to cement its name in national politics.
The subsequent success of the party in parliamentary elections allowed Advani to be elected to Lok Sabha from Gandhinagar, Gujarat in 1998. He was later named the Deputy Prime Minister of India in 2002.
After his term ended in office, Advani continued to act as a crucial political figure as he remained the Leader of the Opposition until 2009 when he ran for the post of Prime Minister himself. In a political career spanning close to 7 decades, Advani has shaped the course of Indian politics, scripted the rise of BJP and remains a major political force in the country.
Here are 10 facts you might not know about Lal Krishna Advani:
- Advani was often at odds with his party members due to some of the major decisions he took during his time as the party president. Owing to his strong views that clashed frequently with the younger political faction of the BJP, he submitted his resignation to the party three times during the tenure from 2005 to 2013.
- Advani is a notable cricket and Bollywood enthusiast and a fanatic for the writings of Alvin Toffler about the need to adapt to a changing world.
- In 2015, Advani was bestowed with the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian honour.
- Advani served as Minister of Home Affairs in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government from 1998 to 2004.
- For a brief period in 1944, 17-year-old Advani worked as a school teacher at Model High School in Karachi, Pakistan, where he taught Mathematics, Science, History and English.
- He has been elected as the President of the Bharatiya Janata Party three times — reigning as the longest-running BJP party president, nominated to the Rajya Sabha four times and elected as a member of the Lok Sabha five times during his political career.
- Advani was the think-tank behind BJP’s core philosophy of ‘hardline Hindutva,’ which it used to stand out against its other political opponents and amass ubiquitous support in the country for the party beginning from the 1990s.
- From the year 1990 to 1991, LK Advani was the Chairman of Review at the Lok Sabha Secretariat Committee as per Recruitment and Conditions Rules 1955.
- Lal Krishna Advani was bestowed with the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award in the year 1999 by the Indian Parliamentary Group.
- My Country My Life, an autobiographical account by Lal Krishna Advani, was released by A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on 19 March 2008.