Band Aid for cancerBY M J AKBAR (Byline)IN THE general elections of 2004 the irrepressible and sometimes irresponsible Lalu Prasad Yadav used to tow around a maulvi when in campaign mode. Nothing particularly wrong with that. Politicians have this tendency to turn mullahs into best friends at election time.
4 August 2008
What was the particular competence of this maulvi that attracted Lalu Yadav? Was he a great aalim, or scholar, erudite in the finer points of Sharia? Was he a fine economist with specialised knowledge in the intricate problems of rural Bihar?
The reason was less subtle. He was a lookalike of Osama bin Laden. He even handed out autographs signed "Osama".
Lalu Yadav sent out two unmissable signals with his thoughtless pandering. He told non-Muslims that the true role model of all Bihar Muslims, irrespective of what they said in their politically-correct avatar, was a person whose name had become synonymous with terrorism. And he told Muslims, particularly their impressionable young, that Osama was a legitimate role model.Did Mrs Sonia Gandhi, an ally of Lalu Yadav, question him or even raise the subject? Not a word. Votes were more important, even if they came in the name of Osama bin Laden. Did the subject arise when Mrs Gandhi offered Lalu Yadav a prominent place in Dr Manmohan Singh's Cabinet? No.
Monday, August 04, 2008