RJD chief Lalu Prasad had dithered before ordering the arrest of LK Advani in October 1990 when the BJP leader’s Ram rath was rolling to Ayodhya from Somnath, Bihar home secretary Afzal Amanullah has said.
“Lalu Prasad himself told me not to arrest Advani as it would have wider political ramifications,” he said.“He had told me that he was in touch with VP Singh — the then prime minister — and that arresting Advani could lead to the fall of the government at the Centre.”
Advani’s arrest in Samastipur district had propelled Lalu, the then chief minister, to the political centrestage and earned him the support of secularists.
The home secretary’s revelation came after Lalu’s RJD alleged that Amanullah’s current position in the Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (U)-BJP government in Bihar was a reward for not arresting Advani 17 years ago, despite having been directed to.
“Amanullah refused to arrest Advani. Lalu then promptly posted more courageous officers in adjoining districts and got them to arrest Advani at Samastipur,” a top RJD leader said.
But Amanullah, who was then the deputy commissioner of Dhanbad district, hit back with his version. Lalu has refused to respond so far.
True to his prediction, VP Singh’s government came down soon after Advani was taken into custody.