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How Lalu won over Pakistan

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar became the second prominent National Democratic Alliance (NDA) leader after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) senior leader Lal Krishna Advani to visit Pakistan. Nitishspared nothing to make his recent visit historic and memorable. He intended to sell his Bihar model of development but this became secondary as he strived hard to showcase his secular image in a hard core Islamic state. Kumar visited a temple in Sindh province, dera sahib gurudwara, Jinnah’s mausoleum, the graves of Zulfikar and Benazir Bhutto and the shrine of the great poet Alama Iqbal-Badshahi Mosque.

Despite visiting all these places, he could not sell his Bihar model and earn a wide coverage like Advani did during his last visit to Pakistan. Though Nitish got a few accolades from Pakistan’s top brass during his weeklong visit, he could not make it a grand show. He addressed a gathering of panchayat heads and also shared dinner in a Diwali party with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari. All this became insignificant as former chief minister of Bihar Lalu Prasad Yadav outshined Nitish without even visiting Pakistan.

Yadav’s competence and his efforts resulting  in a turnaround of the railways in India earned him a special reference in Pakistan’s National Assembly.

The reference was made during Nitish’s visit to Pakistan.  A Pakistani lawmaker, member of lower house, National Assembly, Sajjad Ahmed surprised everybody by stating in the house, ‘If you cannot, let Lalu run the railways in Pakistan’. Ahmed, a Muttahaida Quami movement member made this remark when the railway secretary, Noman Islam Sheikh, questioned the performance of the railways in his country.

Ahmed stated that the country’s railways should be handed over to former Indian rail minister, Lalu Yadav, if the government was unable to tackle problems. Lalu Yadav is widely credited for guiding the turnaround of the Indian railways. Pakistani railways is plagued by several problems including the lack of locomotives, shortage of spare parts, fuel and cancellation of dozens of trains due to financial constraints.

Lalu Yadav during his tenure as the rail minister, turned the loss making organisation into a huge profit earning entity. The railways, under his leadership, made a cumulative profit of more than 25,000 crore. He managed the same Indian railways efficiently with the same set of officers and workforce. Lalu’s economics astonished all intellectuals in the world as to how a person without possessing a sound understanding of economics could make a turnaround that too without effecting any hike in the fares.

Lalu’s success story stunned some well-known management schools across the world. He was invited to address the overseas students in Harvard and other places. He mesmerised his students in his chaste Hindi style. He will always be remembered for introducing the air conditioned Gharib Raths and other pro-poor initiatives.

Probably this made a Pakistani lawmaker to shower praises over our former rail minister.

Lalu Yadav still continues to be a force to be reckoned with despite a number of poll reverses.  He is a core fighter and a unique political personality, well versed with the skill to make dents in the rival factions.

While addressing public meetings, Yadav does his best to connect with the ordinary people, generally referred to as aam aadmi. A product of JP movement in Bihar rose to become the youngest Lok sabha member at the age of 29 in the 9th Lok Sabha.  He graduated from the students politics to steer his advances in the state and central politics. He took inspiration from Karpoori Thakur, Jay Prakash Narayan and others. Yadav started his political career as an anti-Congress activist and later on landed into the bandwagon being propelled by the same party. His alliance with Lok Jan Shakti Party, led by Ram Vilas Paswan, was also seen as a surprising combination. Yadav, after venturing in the Janta Party, formed the RJD in July 1997. He still continues to be the president of the party. Yadav used to put rings in all his fingers to keep his post of the chief minister safe after being entangled in the Fodder scam cases. He threw away all his rings into the river when he was left with no other option to resign.  He went several astrologers and babas during his difficult days and suddenly decided to avoid them after resigning from the post of the chief minister.  

Lalu Yadav displayed his acumen by installing his wife as the chief minister on his post in Bihar on 25 July 1997. Yadav ruled Bihar by proxy during the Rabri regime.

Now, ofcourse, Rabri must be happily enjoying her husband’s popularity in Pakistan.

Satpal is a communication consultant
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