"Log kehte hain Laloo natakiya hai, majak karta hai. Iska image bilkul hansi ka paatra ban kar reh gaya hai. Baat aisi hai nahin. Humra ek style hai communicate karne ka (people say Laloo is dramatic, he's a joker. His image has been reduced to a comical one. But that is not true. It's just that I have a particular style of communicating)."
—Laloo Prasad Yadav on Laloo Prasad Yadav
Bumbling village idiot or secular lodestar? Fodder-chomping cowherd or an enduring symbol of political empowerment? Love him or hate him, Laloo Prasad Yadav is determined to leave his imprint on politics at the national level.
Delighted with the all-round praise he has got for his journey to Pakistan and his subsequent handling of VHP leaders (who were denied entry into Bihar), Laloo now believes the nation is ready to receive him with open arms. "I am not going to keep sitting in the state. I have to make a government in Delhi. I have to contribute to national politics," he says.
And he is fired with a missionary zeal to tackle forces of "fascism and communalism", the...