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Ahmadinejad, Iran’s Lalu Prasad?

You can even compare some of the political leaders of the two countries. President Ahmadinejad, the son of a blacksmith, comes from the underclass and still lives in a lower-middle class neighbourhood. “His style,” writes Majd, “the bad suits, the cheap Windbreaker, the shoddy shoes, and the unstylish haircut, a style he proudly maintains well into his presidency is a signal to the working class that he is still one of them.” He drives no limousine but a Peugeot, and delivers his speeches in pedestrian Persian, the kind that is spoken on the streets and is understood by all. Inasmuch, he is not a far cry from the Lalu Prasad brand of politician, who won election after election riding on his carefully cultivated rustic appeal, or even Mamata Banerjee, the railway minister who still lives in a lower middle class neighbourhood and drives to Parliament in a Maruti Zen. -- Saif Shahin