Lalu Prasad’s special affinity to the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, came to the fore as the ‘management guru’ announcedthe establishment of a ‘railway chair’, for research in railway infrastructure and man-agement, at the prestigiousB-school.
He made the announcement while presenting the Railway Budget for 2007-08. Credited with the turnaround of Indian Railways, Prasad had been invited to IIM-Ahmedabad last year. While there, he talked to the students on the turnaround acheived by the railways. Lalu Prasad had emphasized on the need for managers to rely on rustic wisdom in decision-making.
He had also addressed visiting students of Wharton Business School.
The turnaround of the railways was the subject of a case-study prepared by IIM Professor G. Raghuram. The study was recently included in the curriculum for the institute’s post-graduate programe for executives. The railway minister was invited to give a lecture to the students of the inaugural session.
In recent years, the minister has given such lectures to several Indian and international business schools.
These interactions, which were extensively covered by the national media, have helped Lalu Prasad to transform his image from that of a populist leader who was for ever handing out freebies to one of a new-age reforms-oriented politician.