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Last Updated: Monday, 18 December 2006, 13:08 GMT
Profile: Laloo Prasad Yadav
Railways Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav is a key ally of India's governing coalition led by the Congress party.

Laloo Prasad Yadav
Laloo Prasad Yadav is known for his mass appeal

Mr Yadav is a formidable force in India's most lawless state, Bihar, which his Rashtriya Janata Dal governed for 13 years until electoral defeat in 2005.

As the federal railways minister, he is given credit for single-handedly turning the railways from an ailing, loss-making venture into one that makes profit.

And recently, Mr Yadav has found his way into the textbooks - a prestigious Indian management institute introduced a case study on his work in the ministry for its business students.

One of India's most colourful politicians, Mr Yadav is known for his quirky style and mass appeal.

Born in a poor farming family in Bihar, Mr Yadav has travelled a long way from his humble origins.

And his acquittal by a special court in a case of corruption against him in December 2006 will only strengthen his position further.

Fodder scam

Mr Yadav's problems began in 1996 when the police unearthed a big corruption scandal in which he and the state's leading bureaucrats and politicians were alleged to be involved.

The scandal involved embezzlement of $267 million meant for buying cattle fodder in Bihar and the media promptly dubbed it the "fodder scam".

The case shocked the country, chiefly because Mr Yadav, whose politics is based on mass mobilisation of the lower-caste Hindu votes, had come to be known as a champion of social justice.

The scam forced him to resign as chief minister but he managed to install his wife, Rabri Devi, as his successor.

Illiterate and a newcomer to politics, Rabri Devi was nick-named "Rubbery Devi" by her critics who alleged that she was a rubber stamp for her husband and a mere figurehead. They said Mr Yadav ran the state by remote control.

As a politician, Mr Yadav was groomed by socialist leader Jai Prakash Narayan, who led a student movement in the early 1970s.

Laloo dolls

He formed the Rashtriya Janata Dal in 1997, after breaking away from the Janata Dal.

Despite losing power in Bihar in the 2005 assembly elections, the former first couple of the state continues to hold considerable sway in its politics.

Mr Yadav also continues to fascinate popular imagination in Bihar and in other parts of India.

Many books have been written in praise of Laloo Yadav; his character has inspired many Bollywood characters and Laloo dolls have been lapped up by children.

India minister cleared of charge
18 Dec 06 |  South Asia
Graft charge for Indian minister
17 May 05 |  South Asia
The lord of Bihar
30 Apr 04 |  South Asia
Bihar politician back in jail
21 Dec 01 |  South Asia
Laloo Prasad sent to jail
26 Nov 01 |  South Asia
Laloo Prasad taken into custody
05 Apr 00 |  South Asia

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