Viewers' Voice



    Railways’ Politics: Between Mamta and Lalu

    Indra R Sharma


In 2004 Man Mohan Singh rather Soniaji awarded Railway ministry to her chummy Lalu preferring over Ram Vilash, another strong Bihari aspirant in fray claiming it because of his past experience. Lalu dreamt of winning back Bihar’s throne riding railways. In 2009, Mamta has sought the ministry to ride her win of leftist Bengal. Lalu had failed, will Mamta succeed? If at all she does win, it will for the failures of the leftists rather than her ability to use railways to speed past them.

I happened to watch Mamta presenting the Railway Budget 2009. She appeared to mimic Lalu in many ways, though some may be her patented words such as ‘ma, mati, manush’, and ‘duranto’ that she wrongly translated as ‘turant’ (immediate) of Urdu. To be frank I don’t know if ‘duranto’ is slang or commonly used Bangali word.

Mamta Didi went on just as Lalu used to do by substituting ‘Bong’ for Bihar. Lalu’s budgets very poorly smelt as one meant for Bihar and not for India. Mamta did score on Lalu by bringing in Singur, Nandigram and Lalgarh, the latest battlefield for the leftist government of Bengal.

But why is Mamta so averse to Bihar? Why did she drop even Patna from the list of the stations that will be upgraded to world-class standard? As such, the capital city of every state of India with rail connectivity would have been in her list. Is it something to do with Nitish who has been asking to investigate the performance of railways during Lalu era and that emboldened her? Why should Nitish keep on hitting at Lalu now when he has defeated him? Why can’t Nitish be a little more different and generous with Lalu? Is Nitish afraid of the potential of the ghost that may make a comeback? As reported, Nitish has commended Mamta’s budget ‘for exposing her predecessor Lalu Prasad's `baazigari' (figure fudging to claim profits by railways)’. Will Nitish get anything in return from Mamta? Is it not surprising that his own deputy Modi criticized Mamta for ignoring Bihar?

What can be the reasons of animosity of Mamta with Lalu that made both getting into unwanted interactions during the presentation of the budget? Is it because Mamta is to work against the high performance benchmarks set by Lalu during his tenure? Many including myself may not like Lalu’s way of doing the things, but as railway minister he did much better and must be credited to change his image and that of government machinery. Lalu got applause from various domestic as well as global agencies including the American business schools of repute. One may call him lucky too, as there were pretty good check on railway accidents too. Is Mamta envy of that?

Mamta is following Lalu’s footsteps. As many felt, Lalu was running railways from Patna, Mamta plans to have her operating headquarter in Sealdah, Kolkata.

As related to Bihar, Mamta has included Gaya railway station in the list for up gradation perhaps because of her past alliance with NDA. It is an important pilgrimage town. Hindus from all corners of the globe visit Gaya and the facilities there are dismal. I wish Mamta would have announced a yatri nivas too for Gaya. I couldn’t get any hint if Mamta will allow the railway projects in Chhapara and Madhepura to go ahead. I wish she keeps the projects intact and make it going fast. If just a change of minister can destabilize the projects decided by the previous minister, what happens when the ruling party changes? As a practice, this must be stopped.
Mamta appeared to be copying Lalu with the humour, but she appeared to be taunting on her opponents.
I would also have liked a change in the way a railway minister keeps on naming all the trains and routes over the country. It may be for the consumption of the electorate and MPs, but it’s annoying for listeners like me.
There are many promises, and so it has happened in past too. Everything- world class facilities, SMS updates for those on ticket waitlists, ladies’ specials on suburban train routes, doctors on long-distance routes, and cold-storage facilities to help farmers, ticket machines in post offices, mobile ticket selling, double-decker trains, yuva trains, and the nonstop trains- are wonderful. But will it be executed fast and effectively? The commuters hardly feel happy. Till today New Delhi Railway Station appears to be dangerously overcrowded and insecure. Till today, I can’t plan a journey on railways in user-friendly manner with its website. Till today, the crowd at the only booking centre at Brahmputra Complex in Noida has not reduced.

However, I really commend her vision of making many of the railway hospitals as medical colleges and nursing schools. With huge resources, Mamta can certainly contribute to provide good education and healthcare for each and every one connected anyway with railways.

Perhaps Mamta has indicated her own mindset by recommending the change of the old mindset of economic viability with social viability” to the economists including the economist Man Mohan.

But I couldn’t understand one thing. How could Man Mohan digest and agree for a white paper on the railways’ performance in last five years that Mamta proposed. Man Mohan is on record declaring Lalu’s railway management as excellent.

I pray Mamta moves with maturity on managing the affairs of the railways, keeps the promises and takes it to a greater height.

Railways are one of the biggest corporations of the world. It certainly requires excellent managerial skills for both its hardwares and human resources. Mamta and her men, if selected rightly, can achieve that. And it can happen if she isolates it from petty politics.




All said and doen Laloojee accepted one thign after all that the real profit was just 9000 crore not 90000 crore as he claimed earlier.. now he is taching people about goss and net profit.
In gross prpofit he included the prinicpal amount too.. This has to be oen of the most sleek definition of profit.. as far as normal economics is concerned if you invest Rs 100 and end up making total Rs120 your profit is 20 not 120.
So thsi was laloo economics whihc was trumpeted by manmohans Singh and his friends from media alike.
We always knew laloo prsad Yadav was not capable fo anythign beyond litti chkha in train and earthen pot for tea and khadi blanket. Mind you each of these except Litti Chokha was flawed suggestion and got unceremoniously dropped.. Yeah I forgot vegetable train to Delhi which cud nto last more than a week...When a person had failed in fifteen years in Bihar can;t over night become adminstrative wizard.



Both mamata and nitishkumar trying to get down lalu politically , both should remember that lalu he did excellent performance on his last five years tenure and he made historic profits in Indian railway, regardless his performance in Bihar, but as a railway Minister he give marginal profit to Indian railway, Mamta should learn from lalu and try to keep more profitable to railway and not making politics on this regard. and nitish mukumar also if he cannot appreciate the performance of lalu what he did for Bihar specially in railway but at least he should not make soor to soor same with Mamta.
M wasim
From Saudi arabia


I do not agree with mr. farooq comments on this article Lalu what he did for railway no body did upto now since the independence day of India, regarding white paper why only in ministry of railway even railway performed historic profit, why not to other ministries, for the asking of white paper this only seems to bee hatred with the lalu yadav and his party, and also discrimination with bihar.
M. wasim


While presenting railways budget Mumta Banerjee's acknowleding remarks to Lalu "you have done something and i will do something" and asking for help by saying "Let me do one or two for WB. You did so much for Bihar" apparently indicate that she may claim lion share for her state out of 54,000 crore investment which was approved for Bihar by Lalu parsad.
White paper is in fact a clever step in that direction to find out errors and omission of Lalu and posed question mark on redibility of his performance so that she succeed in snatching away the a portion of project allocated for Bihar in a way where nobody can dare to lift finger at her integrity and impartiality. Sushil Kumar Modi's concern is pertinent and any move against interest of Bihar, which will most probably be taken after bringing out white paper, should by opposed. Mamta Banarjee should apply her managerial skill to generate revenue for railways and then claim share out of allocated projects for her state and abstain from maligning performance of political rival.

It is also bitter fact that politicians see their interest first and issue of development of state is sacrificed over their own political existence and present tug of war between two stalwarts can be termed result of it.