There's something about Lalu—he always evokes a response. If in the past run as the chief minister of Bihar he came in for much debate, it is in his role as the railways minister who has turned around the fate of Indian Railways that has caught the fancy of the entire nation this time.
So when he went to IIM-A to lecture about the railways, it was bound to fetch response.
Here's how it went.
AK of Mumbai, India was full of praise for the much-maligned minister.
"Well, one has to recognise achievement. So hats off to Lalu Yadav! I always feel that politicians with a mass base and confidence have a potential which given the right direction and support can work wonders. They are much better than the educated acolytes who populate our ministries through the circuitous route of the Rajya Sabha. In fact the significance of the institution itself is unclear to me."
"As for the specific case of Lalu, I think even in Bihar he was no better or worse than the CMs before or after him. It was an upper class party (namely RSS & BJP) propaganda happily lapped up by their sympathisers (the section of the English speaking middle class, especially the US based ones). Then the media, which represents the same sections, took it forward and made it sound as if it was the opinion of the nation."
Rajat Roy of Pune, India too was charmed by Lalu's wisdom.
"Lalu Yadav has proved that he is just impossible to predict. His extraordinary business skill but practical approach to solve the problem has made the Indian Railway's grand success. Lalu was always a good orator and smart politician but a bad leader."
"Now he is trying to be business leader, my best wishes is with Bihari people who might benefit from this business leader in future. Biharis deserve yours attention Laluji because they bore your 'jungle raj' in Bihar."
As always, not all were impressed. Hans Mash of Hyderabad, India felt no amount of Lalu's so-called turnaround could wipe out his shady past.
"It is a disgrace to learn that IIMs are inviting Lalu Prasad to give a lecture about his management tactics and skills. I cannot find how such highly reputed institutions like IIMs can stoop to that level!"
"If the railways have done well recently it is not because of his management skills but it is because of Indian Railways who have invested heavily all these years and now only the returns are coming as profits which is a basic theory in long-term public sector business. Moreover, Lalu Yadav has no power to decide on the decisions of the railway projects—it is the railway board which takes all the decisions and runs the Indian Railways."
"Without knowing the facts, the IIMs will show only their ignorance if they invite persons like Yadav. I think in this way one of these days IIMs will invite persons like Dawood Ibrahim, Osama Bin Laden or even Karim Lala Telgi to give a lecture on how they are managing their businesses."
"In our country people with such notorious distinctions, eccentric or daring will get priority and respect not honest and good citizens. IIMs please take a note of this."
Gaurav from Sydney, Australia agreed the minister was merely attempting at an image makeover.
"He might be good at management and other simple 'fundas'. But he is trying to improve his image damages with all his scandals. I would like to see him only as railway minister."
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