Monday, July 28, 2008

Oil’s well with Lalu and the sheikhs/ Mail Today, July 28, 2008

HAVING achieved the impossible in turning the Indian Railways into a profit- making outfit, Lalu Prasad Yadav has raised the bar. He now wants to bring crude prices down. Not international crude prices, which in any case have dipped marginally in the last two weeks, but the price that India pays for the black gold from West Asian countries. His speech during the confidence vote, typically a mixture of the serious and the comical, was more proof that for Lalu, nothing is impossible. Even the Opposition members were seen laughing and cheering him. Search YouTube and you would find that the number of clips and hits of Lalu’s speech grows by the hour, which is perhaps an indication that even Gen- Next is beginning to trust the man who is now on the must- call- on list of visiting students from Harvard and Stanford business schools. With the Railways in the pink of health, Lalu has now shifted attention to the country’s oil requirements and believes that if anyone can help bring down the country’s soaring import bills, it is him. He has been lobbying with the Prime Minister and everyone else that matters that he be sent as a special envoy to the Gulf countries. He is confident that his rustic charm combined with pro- minority credentials will melt the hearts of the filthy rich rulers of the sheikhdoms and make them give special concessions for India’s rapidly burgeoning petroleum imports. Lalu has in the past pulled many rabbits out of his hat and for the sake of the aam aadmi , Manmohan Singh should heed Lalu’s request, waive the ban on foreign tours by ministers and put him on a special plane on this very special mission. It won’t be wasteful expenditure.

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