Before you think that your fears about the Blogosphere's sanity are confirmed and before you drag your mouse to the close button of your browser; take a second to go through this post. The first question that we need to ask ourselves is: what is it about Lalu that revolts us? Why is it so difficult to imagine that he could one day be our Prime Minister and even if we imagine it, why are the visions that accompany it so apocalyptic?
Largely it has to do with his performance in Bihar. His deliberate ploy to make sure that Bihar never developed. His plan to make sure that whatever happened, the caste divisions should survive. All this is reason enough to make him a subject for our nightmares when envisioning him as our PM. But what we need to understand in this context is that Lalu is not a man who is attached to a dogma. He is a shrewd politician who is smart enough to understand when an idea's life time has expired. He is smart enough to know that his policies which worked very well for him in Bihar will never work at an all India level. This is best exemplified by his role as the country's railway minister. He could very well have allowed it to languish and nobody would have been surprised but he did not do that, he brought back a certain feeling of optimism that yes maybe the Railways can still be saved. I personally perceive this as a step towards his often stated ambition of becoming the country's PM. If Lalu feels that development is the way to go, then its about the best thing that can happen.
There is a huge difference between some one like Manmohan Singh propagating the virtues of development as opposed to Lalu. Like it or not Lalu is one of the most powerful people on the Indian political scene. He is a mass leader and as the charisma to sell the idea to the people. For someone like Dr. Singh the only thing that earns him support from the people is the perception that he is an honest man, he doesn’t have the rustic appeal to connect with the masses. And at this juncture what we need is some one to convince the masses that development through free market policies is the best way forward and Lalu can fit into that role perfectly.
And if Lalu comes across as a supporter for privatization, globalization and a free market economy then it will help it to shed the elitist tag that hangs like an albatross across its neck.