April 05, 2020
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L.K. Advani: An Ideological Potboiler

From rath to wrath...

L.K. Advani: An Ideological Potboiler

1986 May: Becomes chief of the BJP

1989 June: Drafts the Palampur resolution, aligning the BJP with VHP's Ram temple agitation.

December: Allies with JD for LS polls. Lends outside support to the V.P. Singh government, as does the Left.

1990 September: Launches rath yatra from Somnath for temple construction.

October: Yatra is stopped at Samastipur, Bihar; withdraws support to VP government.

1992 December: Babri Masjid demolished by kar sevaks on Dec 6. Advani prime accused.

1993 September: Leads BJP’s ‘janadesh yatra’ from Mysore to protest against two bills—the Constitution 80th amendment bill and Representation of People Act, saying both denied political space to the BJP.

1995 November: Declares Vajpayee—the BJP’s ‘acceptable face’—will be the party’s prime ministerial candidate for the 1996 elections.

1996 January: Chargesheeted in the hawala scam. Vows not to contest elections till cleared of taint. Clean chit given by Delhi High Court. Wins the 1998 Lok Sabha elections from Gandhinagar.

2002 January: "(The) killings of thousands of Sikhs in Delhi in the 1984 riots was a greater shame and agony than the demolition of the Babri Masjid," says before the Liberhan Commission.

July: Defending Narendra Modi’s role during the Gujarat riots, tells Parliament that Modi was "the best CM in the last half century".

August: On a trip to London after becoming deputy prime minister, describes the Gujarat violence as indefensible. "Gujarat is a blot on the government.... I just can’t defend it."

2004 March: Says he has no objections to Rahul and Priyanka joining politics. But if it has undertones of dynastic rule, it is wrong.

March: Sets out on the Bharat Uday yatra from Kanyakumari. BJP supporters say this is merely a campaign tour with no religious connotations.

April: "Demolition of Babri Masjid would have happened normally.... (But) we were taken by surprise. I was there.... It was a day of deep anguish."

April: "I am not a ritualistic person. I do not perform puja everyday."

2005 March: "It is true that for us to have invited Musharraf despite Kargil was not a small step. I would claim that I did it." After Sept 11, says Musharraf had realised terrorism was an evil, which will affect every country. "I think Gen Musharraf can deliver."

April: Patch-up with Musharraf on the latter’s Delhi visit. The general presents him an album containing photos from his school days, invites him to visit Pak.

May: Lands in Pakistan, says, "The day the Babri Masjid was demolished is the saddest day of my life."

June: In Pakistan, describes Jinnah as secular, provoking outraged reaction from the Sangh parivar. Resigns from the party president post.

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