Elections to the 9th Lok Sabha were held in November 1989. Rajiv came to power in 1984 with a thumping majority but the stigma of the Bofors scam ousted him from power. The people had rejected the Congress but the confusion persisted, as a result no one got a majority. Janata Dal emerged as the single largest party in this hung Lok Sabha. BJP supported it from outside on the issue of Ram temple and VP Singh became the new Prime Minister.
VP Singh’s government had promised that a solution to the Ram temple dispute would be found within four months of assuming power. Almost 6 months had passed but neither the intention of the Janata government was visible nor the situation was getting clear about it. The pressure on BJP was increasing. In June, the leaders of the Ram Mandir movement decided that a kar seva would be held at the disputed site on October 30.
gave an interview before going to london
In the first week of June, BJP President Lal Krishna Advani was to go to London with a parliamentary delegation. In an interview to Tarun Vijay, editor of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s mouthpiece Panchjanya, before leaving for London, Advani expressed the hope that the Janata Dal government can still find a way, otherwise there is bound to be a kar seva in Ayodhya from October. Regarding kar seva, Advani warned that, ‘If kar seva is interrupted, then the country will witness the biggest mass movement of independent India. ,
The relationship between the BJP and the government soured
Well… While Advani left for London, it was publicized that the BJP President has threatened to start a massive mass movement across the country on the Ayodhya issue. This deepened the rift in the already cold relations between the BJP and the government. In his autobiography ‘My Country My Life’, Advani has mentioned a unique dilemma regarding this.
Advani’s last attempt
He believed that the Janata Dal government formed after defeating the Congress was a big victory for the democratic forces. Advani does not want any trouble to come on this government. In view of this, in a program in New Delhi on August 13, he made a proposal to the Muslim leaders that if they voluntarily withdraw their claim from Ram Janmabhoomi, then Advani would personally request the Vishwa Hindu Parishad leaders to make their demands of Mathura, Varanasi. Don’t stress. But Advani was deeply regretted when his offer was turned down by Muslim leaders.
Now all the attention has been focused on the Kar Sewa which will start in Ayodhya from 30th October. Kar Seva Committees started being formed across the country. People from all over the country were thronging to reach Ayodhya. By now Advani was beginning to believe that this movement would not be limited to the construction of a number of temples in Ayodhya. According to him, this was the beginning of the crackdown on pseudo-secularism and the inauguration of true universalism.
Pramod Mahajan came one day
September had begun. LK Advani was sitting with his wife Kamla Advani at his Pandara Park residence when BJP general secretary Pramod Mahajan came to meet him. After the reception, the formal talks came down to the Ayodhya issue and Kar Sewa. Pramod started telling how there is a stir in the country regarding Kar Seva. In Advani’s words, Pramod was well versed in sensing socio-political trends long before they came to the surface of society.
During the discussion, Advani expressed his intention and said, ‘I am thinking of connecting people on this issue while doing a padyatra from Somnath to Ayodhya.’ The padyatra was to begin on 2 October i.e. Gandhi Jayanti or on 25 September Deendayal Upadhyaya Jayanti.
Pramod Mahajan’s unique proposal
But don’t know why something was knocking Pramod Mahajan. He said with his familiar grin, ‘The idea of a foot march is a good one, but it won’t be of much help in terms of the purpose you have in mind. You will be able to reach only a small part of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and half of UP.
Advani asked him his option, saying that the idea of traveling by car did not appeal to him as he would not be able to interact with the public. Yes, if you travel in a jeep, then something can happen.
idea of diya rath yatra
Pramod Mahajan, after sitting silent for some time, suddenly said, ‘Why don’t we do the Rath Yatra? After all, this is the issue of Ram Mandir. We will take a mini bus or mini truck and turn it into a chariot and you travel in it. Since our aim is to garner public support for the construction of Ram temple, it will be named as Ram Rath Yatra.
Along with this, he added that due to this chariot, Advani will be able to travel to at least 12 states. This will cover a large part of western, southern, central, northern and eastern India. Pramod Mahajan said, ‘Leave the responsibility of planning and arranging the Rath Yatra to me, tell me when you want to start.’
There was hesitation in the beginning but it turned out to be
LK Advani agreed with initial hesitation and it was decided that on the birthday of Deendayal Upadhyaya, the Rath Yatra should travel from Somnath. Advani asked Pramod Mahajan to immediately convene a meeting of the general secretaries and other important members of the party.
Finally, on September 12, BJP President LK Advani called a press conference at the party office at 11 Ashoka Road. It was announced that the Rath Yatra will start from Somnath on September 25, covering a distance of 10,000 km, and will reach Ayodhya on October 30 and will participate in the Kar Sewa.