After increasing its tally from 2 seats in 1984 to 86 seats in 1989, the BJP (erstwhile Jan Sangh) went after its next objective of achieving power at the center. Ram Mandir had become an emotive issue ever since Rajiv Gandhi government ordered the opening of the lock of the Babri Mosque, which had been built by Mughal Babar in place of an existing Ram Temple. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that had from the very beginning supported the construction of a Ram temple in place of the Babri Mosque, in Ayodhya, took the cue and started an agitation.
Lal Krishna Advani, the then president of the BJP, started a Rath Yatra that commenced from Somnath in Gujarat had a final destination of Ayodhya. The yatra, which was to tour large parts of northern India to awaken the Hindu masses in favour of a Ram Temple, began on 25th September 1990. But the yatra was unable to reach its final destination as Lal Krishna Advani was arrested in Samastipur Bihar on 23rd October. Advaniís arrest led to the withdrawal of support from the V.P. Singh government by the BJP. But the drama had yet not ended. Lakhs of Kar Sewaks (Self-less workers for religious cause) had already assembled in Ayodhya for the construction of Ram Temple. An over-enthusiastic chief minister of Uttar Pradesh Mulayam Singh Yadav ordered an indiscriminate firing over the assembled gathering on October 30. Hundreds died that fateful day with BJP withdrawing its support to the Mulayam Singh Yadav government.
High communal passions flew all across India. Many lost their lives in the ensuing riots. Mulayam Singh Yadav somehow survived with the Congress support, (the decision that Congress was to regret for many years to come). Lal Krishna Advani became a national hero among Hindus, and BJP rose like a phoenix to ultimately replace Congress as the largest political party of India by 1996.
Split in Janata Government
On 5 November, the Janata Dal split and fifty-eight legislators elected Chandra Shekhar as their leader. On 7 November, the second attempt at running a non-Congress government came to an end after eleven stormy months.
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