BJP veteran LK Advani tried to use Shias of Iran to nullify the claims of Sunni Muslims in India on Babri Masjid in a bid to make way for Ram Temple in Ayodhya when he was the Home Minister in the Vajpayee cabinet in 1999. But Advani's plans were foiled by Vajpayee loyalists who feared that the former would take all the credits for resolving the burning issue, says  'Untold Vajpayee', a book by writer-journalist  Ullekh NP.  

 

Quoting from the book, which was released on Sunday, Mathrubhumi reports that Advani, who was the home minister in the Vajpayee government, sent an envoy to Iran to

Cover of the book

prompt a Shia Scholar to stake a claim on Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, which is believed to have built by Shias. As per a Shia tradition, a mosque once destroyed should not be constructed in the same location. By roping in the Shia scholar, Advani hoped that he could nullify the claims of Sunni hardliners over the destroyed masjid and thus make Ram temple possible in Ayodhya. 

 

A senior central government official went to Tehran with this mission. As talks progressed, Viswa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leaders demanded that similar plan should be implemented in Kashi and Mathura. But Vajpayee loyalists vehemently opposed as they feared that Advani would walk away with all the credits if his plans succeeded, the report said. 

 

Quoting NP Ullekh, Matrubhumi stated that the author received the secret information from a top official who was privy to the plans. The book also reveals that there were attempts to remove Vajpayee as Prime Minister and install Advani. The move had the backing of the RSS too. The proposal was to rehabilitate Vajpayee as President. 

 

 The book, published by Penguin-Viking looks at Vajpayee's relationship with leaders of his party and his love–hate association with the RSS and its feeder organisations. 

 

This is the second book by Ullekh, who wrote  'War Room: The People, Tactics and Technology behind Narendra Modi’s 2014 Win.' He hails from Kannur, Kerala and is the executive editor of Open magazine.