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L. K. Advani
7th Deputy Prime Minister of India
In office
29 June 2002 – 22 May 2004
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Preceded by Devi Lal
Succeeded by Vacant
Minister of Coal and Mines
In office
1 July 2002 – 26 August 2002
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Preceded by Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Succeeded by Uma Bharati
Minister of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions
In office
29 January 2003 – 21 May 2004
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Succeeded by Manmohan Singh
Minister of Home Affairs
In office
19 March 1998 – 22 May 2004
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Preceded by Indrajit Gupta
Succeeded by Shivraj Patil
Minister of Information and Broadcasting
In office
24 March 1977 – 28 July 1979
Prime Minister Morarji Desai
Preceded by Vidya Charan Shukla
Succeeded by Purushottam Kaushik
6th Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha
In office
May 2004 – December 2009
Preceded by Sonia Gandhi
Succeeded by Sushma Swaraj
In office
24 December 1990 – 26 July 1993
Preceded by Rajiv Gandhi
Succeeded by Atal Bihari Vajpayee
5th Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha
In office
21 January 1980 – 7 April 1980
Vice President Mohammad Hidayatullah
Preceded by Kamalapati Tripathi
Succeeded by P. Shiv Shankar
Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha
In office
3 April 1970 – 2 April 1976
Preceded by Sardar Santokh Singh
Succeeded by Charanjit Chanana
Constituency Delhi
In office
3 April 1976 – 2 April 1982
Preceded by Devdatt Kumar Kikabhai Patel
Succeeded by Kumud Ben Joshi
Constituency Gujarat
In office
3 April 1982 – 2 April 1988
Preceded by Sawai Singh Sisodiya
Succeeded by Radhakishan Malviya
Constituency Madhya Pradesh
In office
3 April 1988 – 30 November 1989
Preceded by Hans Raj Bhardwaj
Succeeded by Jinendra Kumar Jain
Constituency Madhya Pradesh
Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha
In office
28 February 1998 – 23 May 2019
Preceded by Vijay Patel
Succeeded by Amit Shah
Constituency Gandhinagar
In office
26 November 1989 – 7 May 1996
Preceded by Krishna Chandra Pant
Succeeded by Rajesh Khanna
Constituency New Delhi
2nd Chairman, Delhi Metropolitan Council
In office
28 March 1967 – 19 April 1970
Preceded by Jag Parvesh Chandra
Succeeded by Shyam Charan Gupta
2nd President of the Bharatiya Janata Party
In office
Preceded by Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Succeeded by Murli Manohar Joshi
Personal details
Lal Krishna Advani

(1927-11-08) 8 November 1927 (age 96)
Karachi, Bombay Presidency, British India
(present-day Sindh, Pakistan)
Political party Bharatiya Janata Party
Kamla Advani
(m. 1965; died 2016)
Children Pratibha Advani (daughter)
Jayant Advani (son)
Awards Bharat Ratna
Padma Vibhushan

Lal Krishna Advani (born 8 November 1927) is an Indian politician who served as the 7th Deputy Prime Minister of India from 2002 to 2004. He is one of the co-founders of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a right-wing Hindu nationalist volunteer organization. He is the longest serving Minister of Home Affairs serving from 1998 to 2004. He is also the longest serving Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha. He was the prime ministerial candidate of the BJP during the 2009 general election.

Advani was born in Karachi and migrated to India during the Partition of India and settled down in Bombay where he completed his college education. Advani joined the RSS in 1941 at the age of fourteen and worked as a pracharak in Rajasthan. In 1951, Advani became a member of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh founded by Syama Prasad Mookerjee and performed 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 and served till 1970 while becoming a member of the RSS national executive. In 1970, Advani became a member of the Rajya Sabha for the first time and would go on to serve four terms till 1989. He became the president of Jan Sangh in 1973 and Jana Sangh merged into the Janata Party before the 1977 general election. Following the Janata party's victory in the elections, Advani became the union minister for Information and Broadcasting and leader of the house in Rajya Sabha.

In 1980, he was one of the founding members 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 where he served seven terms. In 1992, he was alleged to have been part of the Demolition of the Babri Masjid, but was acquitted by the courts due to lack of evidence. Following the same, he was one of the chief proponents of the movement to build a temple over the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi site in Ayodhya and the subsequent rise of Hindutva politics in the late 1990s. He has served as leader of opposition in both the houses. He was the minister of home affairs from 1998 to 2004 and deputy prime minister from 2002 to 2004. He served in the Indian parliament until 2019 and is credited for rise of BJP as a major political party. In 2015, he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civilian honour and in 2024, he was conferred with Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour.

Early and personal life

Lal Krishna Advani was born on 8 November 1927 in Karachi, British India in a Sindhi Hindu Brahmin family to Kishanchand D. Advani and Gyani Devi. He was educated at St. Patrick's High School, Karachi, and at D.G. National College, Hyderabad, Sindh. His family migrated to India during partition of India and settled in Bombay, where he graduated in Law from the Government Law College of the Bombay University.

Advani married Kamla Advani in February 1965 and they have a son Jayant and a daughter Pratibha. Pratibha is a television producer and also supports her father in his political activities. His wife died on 6 April 2016 due to old age. Advani resides in Delhi.


1941-51: Early years

Advani joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in 1941 at the age of fourteen. He became a pracharak (full-time worker) conducting shakhas and became the secretary of the Karachi unit in 1947. After the partition of India, Advani was a pracharak in Rajasthan working across Alwar, Bharatpur, Kota, Bundi and Jhalawar districts until 1952.

1951-70: Jana Sangh and DMC chairman

Advani became a member of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS), a political party founded in 1951 by Syama Prasad Mookerjee in collaboration with the RSS. He was appointed as the secretary to S. S. Bhandari, then general secretary of the Jana Sangh in Rajasthan. In 1957, he moved to Delhi and became the general secretary and later, president of the Delhi unit of the Jana Sangh. From 1966 to 1967 he served as the leader of BJS in the Delhi Metropolitan Council (DMC). After the 1967 Delhi Metropolitan Council election, he was elected as the chairman of the council and served till 1970. He also assisted K. R. Malkani with the publication of Organiser, the weekly newsletter of the RSS and became a member of its national executive in 1966.

1971-75: Parliament entry and Jan Sangh leader

In 1970, Advani became a member of the Rajya Sabha from Delhi for the six-year tenure. In 1973, he was elected as the president of BJS at the Kanpur session of the party working committee meeting.

1976-80: Janata party and cabinet minister

Advani was relected to the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat in 1976 for the second time. After the imposition of Emergency and crack down on opposition parties by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, BJS and other opposition parties merged to form the Janata Party. In the 1977 election, Janata Party won a landslide victory due to the widespread unpopularity of emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi. Morarji Desai became the Prime Minister with Advani becoming the Minister of Information and Broadcasting. The government did not complete its five year term and was dissolved to call fresh elections in 1980 where Janata party lost to the Indian National Congress. Subsequently, Advani became the leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha.

1981-89: Formation of BJP and early years

On 6 April 1980, Advani along with few of the erstwhile members of the Jana Sangh quit the Janata Party and formed the Bharatiya Janata Party with Atal Bihari Vajpayee as the first president. Though the previous government lasted briefly from 1977 till 1980 and was marred with factional wars, the period saw a rise in support for the RSS which culminated into the formation of the BJP. In 1982, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha for the third time from Madhya Pradesh representing the BJP. BJP won only two seats in the 1984 election with the Congress winning a landslide on the back of a sympathy wave due to the assassination of Indira Gandhi. This failure led to a shift in the party's stance with Advani being appointed party president and the BJP turning to Hindutva ideology of Jana Sangh.

Under Advani, BJP became the political face of the Ayodhya dispute over the Ram Janmabhoomi site when the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) begun a movement for the construction of a temple dedicated to the Hindu deity Rama at the site of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. The dispute centered on the basis of the belief that the site was the birthplace of Rama, and that a temple once stood there that had been demolished by the Mughal emperor Babur with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) supporting the claim. BJP supported the campaign and made it a part of their election manifesto for the 1989 elections helping it win 86 seats with Advani getting elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time. Advani became the leader of opposition in Lok Sabha when VP Singh formed the National Front government.

1990-97: Rath yatra and rise of BJP

In 1990, Advani embarked on Ram Rath Yatra, a procession with a chariot to mobilise volunteers for Ram Janmabhoomi movement. The procession began from Somnath in Gujarat and headed to converge at Ayodhya. In the 1991 general election, the BJP became the second largest party after the Congress with Advani winning for the second time from Gandhinagar and becoming the leader of opposition again. In 1992, Babri Masjid was demolished with Advani alleged to have delivered a provocative speech prior to the demolition. Advani was among the accused in the demolition case but was acquitted on 30 September 2020 by a CBI's special court. In the judgement, it was mentioned that the demolition was not pre-planned and that Advani was trying to stop the mob and not incite them.

In the 1996 general election, the BJP became the single largest party and was consequently invited by the President to form the government. Advani did not contest the elections over allegations of involvement in the Hawala scandal from which he was acquitted later by Supreme Court. While Vajpayee was sworn in as Prime Minister in May 1996, the government collapsed after just thirteen days.

1998-2004: Home minister and deputy prime minister

In the 1998 general election, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), came to power with Vajpayee returning as Prime Minister in March 1998. Advani was elected to the Lok Sabha for the third term and became the Home Minister. However, the government again collapsed after only thirteen months when All Indian Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) under J. Jayalalitha withdrew its support to the government. With fresh elections being called, the BJP led NDA again won a majority in the 1999 general election and Advani won from Gandhinagar for the fourth term. He assumed the office of Home Minister and was later elevated to the position of Deputy Prime Minister in 2002.

2004-09: Leader of opposition

Condoleezza Rice meets L.K. Advani, New Delhi, 2005
Advani with then US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in 2005

In the 2004 general election, the BJP suffered a defeat with United Progressive Alliance led by the Congress coming to power, with Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister. Advani won his fifth term to the Lok Sabha and became the leader of opposition. Vajpayee retired from active politics after the 2004 defeat, promoting Advani to lead the BJP. In June 2005, while on a visit to Karachi, Advani described Mohammad Ali Jinnah as a "secular" leader which led to criticism from the RSS. Advani was forced to resign as BJP president but withdrew the resignation a few days later. In April 2005, RSS chief K. S. Sudarshan opined that Advani should step aside. At the silver jubilee celebrations of the BJP in Mumbai in December 2005, Advani stepped down as party president and Rajnath Singh, from Uttar Pradesh was elected in his place. In March 2006, following a bomb blast at a Hindu shrine at Varanasi, Advani undertook a "Bharat Suraksha Yatra" (Sojourn for National Security), to highlight the alleged failure of the ruling United Progressive Alliance in combating terrorism.

2009-15: Prime Minister candidacy and later years

Advani on black money - Al Jazeera English - 5483x3368 crop
Advani during an election campaign in 2009

In December 2006, Advani stated that as the leader of the opposition in a parliamentary democracy, he considered himself the Prime Ministerial candidate for the next general elections in May 2009. While not everyone was supportive of his candidacy, Vajpayee endorsed Advani's candidacy. On 2 May 2007, BJP President Rajnath Singh stated that Advani is the natural choice for the next prime minister if BJP won the next elections. On 10 December 2007, the Parliamentary Board of BJP formally announced that L. K. Advani would be its prime ministerial candidate for the general elections due in 2009.

Though Advani won his sixth term in Lok Sabha, the BJP lost to Congress and its allies in the 2009 general elections, allowing then incumbent Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to continue in office. Following the defeat in the elections, L. K. Advani handed over the position of leader of opposition to Sushma Swaraj. He was elected working chairman of the National Democratic Alliance in 2010. Advani contested the 2014 general election from Gandhinagar, winning for the fifth consecutive time. Later he was part of the Marg Darshak Mandal (vision committee) of the BJP along with Murli Manohar Joshi and Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Rath Yatras

Advani often organised Rath yatras or processions to boost the popularity of the BJP and unify the Hindutva ideology. He organized six rath yatras or processions across the country with the first one in 1990.

  1. Ram Rath Yatra: Advani started his first yatra from Somnath in Gujarat on 25 September 1990 which concluded at Ayodhya on 30 October 1990. The procession was linked to the dispute at Ram Janmabhoomi site at Ayodhya and was stopped in Bihar by then Chief Minister Lalu Yadav with Advani himself being arrested on the orders of V. P. Singh, then Prime Minister of India.
  2. Janadesh Yatra: Four processions starting on 11 September 1993 from four corners of country were organized and Advani led the yatra from Mysore in South India. Traversing through 14 states and two Union Territories, the processions were organized with the purpose to seek the people's mandate against the two bills, the Constitution 80th Amendment Bill and the Representation of People (Amendment) Bill and congregated at Bhopal on 25 September.
  3. Swarna Jayanti Rath Yatra: The procession was organized between May and July 1997 and was conducted in celebration of 50 years of Indian Independence and to project the BJP as a party committed to good governance.
  4. Bharat Uday Yatra: The yatra took place in the run-up to the 2004 election.
  5. Bharat Suraksha Yatra: The BJP launched a nationwide mass political campaign from 6 April to 10 May 2006 consisting of two yatras – one led by Advani from Dwaraka in Gujarat to Delhi and the other led by Rajnath Singh from Puri to Delhi. The yatra was focused on fighting left wing terrorism, minority politics, price rise and corruption, protection of democracy.
  6. Jan Chetna Yatra: The last of the yatras was launched on 11 October 2011 from Sitab Diara in Bihar with the purpose of mobilising public opinion against corruption of then ruling UPA government and promote the BJP agenda of good governance and clean politics.

Positions held

Following are the various positions held by Advani:

  • 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

The President, Shri Pranab Mukherjee presenting the Padma Vibhushan Award to Shri Lal Krishna Advani, at a Civil Investiture Ceremony, at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi on March 30, 2015
Advani receiving the Padma Vibhushan award in 2015

See also

  • Electoral history of L. K. Advani
  • Ayodhya dispute
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