'I won't spare you': How Lalu Prasad Yadav stopped LK Advani's rath in its tracks in 1990

Time changes everything. The hardcore face of Hindutva in the 1990s became the "acceptable" saffron leader in run up to 2014 elections and finally being sidelined in the party. As the man who once went out on a nationwide rath yatra in demand for "bhavya Ram Mandir" celebrated his 92nd birthday on Friday, Lal Krishna Advani has had a long journey.

But during this journey Advani had to face the might of the opposition. In 1990, senior BJP leader LK Advani was threatened by former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav for taking out Ram Rath Yatra. Lalu in his made the revelation in his autobiography, ‘Gopalganj to Raisina-My Political Journey’ which was published by Rupa Publications.

Advani is known for taking out a rathyatra in 1990 is support of building a Ram Temple in Ayodhya. However, the yatra was cut short when he was arrested in Bihar which was then ruled by CM Lalu Prasad Yadav.

In the autobiography Lalu wrote, Advani’s plan was "pregnant with the grave possibility of driving Bihar back to 1989” and he went to Delhi to confront the senior leader. Bihar had seen the Bhagalpur riots in 1989 -- triggered by RSS-BJP’s Ramsheel Puja -- in which, the RJD supremo says, 250 villages in and around the silk city were demolished with victims being mostly Muslim weavers.

After reaching New Delhi, he told Advani, “Aap danga phailane wala yatra rok dijiye. Bahut parishram se humne Bihar mein bhaichara kayam kiya hai. Agar aap danga yatra nikaliyega, toh hum chhodengein nahi!” (You must drop the Yatra plan, which is aimed at fuelling riots. I have managed to restore brotherhood in Bihar after a great deal of efforts. If you don’t stop the communal march, I won’t spare you).

Lalu further wrote, though I was candid, I spoke politely to him in the one-on- one meeting. But Advani—who is sober and soft-spoken—became infuriated. He said, ‘Dekhta hoon, kaun mai ka doodh piya hai jo mera rath yatra rokega’ (Let’s see which person who has had his mother’s milk can stop my chariot). I then shot back, ‘Mainey ma aur bhains dono ka doodh piya hai... Ayiye Bihar mein batata hoon.’ (I have had the milk of my mother, as well as of a buffalo... Come to Bihar to see what I can do.)

He also recalls that the then union minister for home affairs, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, had asked him to let the procession go on. But Yadav’s response was: “Aap sab ko satta ka nasha chad gaya hai (you all are intoxicated by power).” He also recalls that the then union minister for home affairs, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, had asked him to let the procession go on. But Yadav’s response was: “Aap sab ko satta ka nasha chad gaya hai (you all are intoxicated by power).”

He further says that nobody had asked him to arrest Advani but he decided to go ahead with it on his own. The plan, he adds, was to arrest the BJP minister in Sasaram, but Advani got the whiff of it and altered his route. The next attempt was made in Dhanbad but that also failed, writes Yadav. He finally decided to have Advani arrested in Samastipur.

Later, two days after the arrest, Yadav called up Advani and said, “I have got you arrested. But the guest house is set amid sylvan surroundings, with green trees and hills all around. You will enjoy walking around the guest house. Take care of your health and call me if you need anything.”