Former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad is a strong candidate for the worst politician in India since it got Independence. He shot to the limelight in the 1970s and became Chief Minister of Bihar in the 1990s. He was Union Railway Minister in the 2000s
Just when everyone thought it was curtains for him, he has risen like a phoenix in the 2015 Bihar Assembly elections. He is involved with a fourth term in Bihar and with the way it is going, he and his family may well get four more terms!
But what is good news for Laloo may not necessarily be good news for Bihar. A look at how he ticks all the boxes when it comes to the negative aspects of politicians...
1. Total law and order breakdown: Jungle Raj. Goonda Raj. These are the two things everyone thinks of when his name is mentioned all over India. Under him kidnapping became an industry and private armies flourished.
Robberies were common and musclemen would take over the cars and residences they fancied. There was a time when Bihar was the only major State which didn't have an ATM or mobile services.
People would head home before sunset and lock their doors. If initial reports are any indication, then these "bure din" could well be back for Bihar.
2. Corruption: In the backdrop of all this, it should come as no surprise that corruption reached epidemic proportions. Lalu is one of the rare former Chief Ministers who has been convicted by a High Court.
His chaara ghotala (fodder scam) reached iconic status. Disproportionate asset cases were also filed against Lalu and his wife Rabri Devi.
3. Casteism and communalism: Lalu openly solicits votes in the name of caste and curiously he is appreciated and called a wily operator. News analyses grandly declared how the electorate voted on caste lines and give kudos to him.
If you oppose the minorities or appease them you are communal. Laloo falls into the latter category. In one of the elections, Lalu campaigned with an Osama bin Laden lookalike. It can't get more bizarre than that.
4. Nepotism: When he was thrown in jail, he put his wife Rabri on the Chief Minister's chair. She wasn't a politician but a housewife at that time. He has pushed his daughter Misa Bharti in the past and in these elections both his sons jumped into the fray.
Which of the three will become Deputy Chief Minister is anybody's guess. When he was Railways Minister, there were reports of his relatives taking over government land. His brothers-in-law Subhash and Sadhu Yadav also attained great notoriety during Lalu-Rabri's 15-year rule.
5. Zero development: No roads. No power reforms. No industries. No nothing. It is amazing to think any Chief Minister who could do so little. The worst Chief Ministers of India still manage to build a few roads and get a few industries in their five years of power.
Lalu has absolutely nothing to show in his 15 years. The atmosphere has become so toxic that it is difficult to imagine any major industry investing big-time in Bihar in the decades to come.
6. Anarchy: There are rural areas in the world where the residents are happy. There are areas with law and order problems which manage or get better. It was much more than that. There was virtually no government when Lalu was in charge.
Lalu wouldn't even attend regular office and the bureaucracy was in shambles. Bihar was a nightmare for any government official transferred there. Under Lalu it was "Each man to himself!"
7. Rude and arrogant: In the recent elections Lalu used the terms maha pisach (big devil) and nar bhakshi (man-eater) for the campaign of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah. He called the media haraamzade. That's par for the course for Lalu and he's been doing this all his life.
He used to make bureaucrats sit at his feet and officials feared the wrath of all of Lalu's relatives and are getting the jitters again with the return of the Jungle Raj.
Good politicians have their good work outweigh their bad.
Bad politicians have their bad work outweigh their bad.
Lalu is the rare politician who saw zero progress and under him every social and economic indicator you could think about crashed to the very depths.
If the #AdarshLiberals of India want to celebrate the victory of such a man, then good for them and best of luck to the people of Bihar.
They'll desperately need it till 2020!