RSS-affiliate body sets up institute to train people aspiring to become politicians.
The nine-month programme will start from August 1 this year.
The course will also include a practical session during the Gujarat Assembly election.
By the end of this year when BJP will be locked in a high-voltage electoral battle with political rivals in Gujarat, an affiliate of its ideological mentor RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) will be using the opportunity to shape up the greenhorns in the Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party, Shiv Sena and other parties as future leaders.
Cutting across political lines, the participants coming from these parties will undergo an internship programme in poll-bound Gujarat conducted by Maharashtra-based Indian Institute of Democratic Leadership. The programme is an initiative of RSS-affiliated Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini but notwithstanding the political ideology, it has already received over 400 applications from aspirants across all parties.
Since its establishment in the year 2000, the centre has been training nearly 2,500 participants every year in various courses that include leadership and management, politics and democracy and governance and public policy. In 2015 alone, nearly 7,000 participants undertook these programmes across the country. “For the first time we have started a postgraduate programme in leadership, politics and governance. This is the first of its kind programme in the country that aims at equipping participants with necessary skill-sets for making a career in politics, public affairs, voluntary organisation and various research works,” said Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, vicechairman-cum-director general of Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini.
The nine-month programme starting August 1 this year will include class lectures as well as field training that will be conducted in Gujarat and Delhi. As per the programme, the students will be taken to Gujarat during elections where they will get the first-hand experience in basic political concept – poll management, public speaking, electioneering and data analytics, constituency management and political organisation. According to programme coordinators, the field work also includes visit to Delhi where participants will be taken to the Parliament and the Rashtrapati Bhavan besides interaction with MPs, MLAs, bureaucrats and journalists. Apart from the classroom lectures, experiential learning will include field visits to gram panchayat, Parliament, Legislative Assembly, Municipal Corporation and development projects. There will be two study tours – election tour to Gujarat and a visit to the national capital. In Delhi students will be taken to offices of various political parties, ministries and interaction with politicians of various parties.
ABOUT THE COURSE
“The exercise aims at teaching students the actual functioning of institutions with the help of simulations of model Parliament and model United Nations. In the first internship, participants will be expected to work in their home constituencies while in the second internship, participants will have to work for a month with a politician or ministry and a voluntary or civil society organisation,’ said Ravindra Sathe, executive director, Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini.
Meanwhile, the centre has been conducting several short-term courses in leadership, the most notable being the seven-day training programme called Netritva Sadhna. This course is a regular feature since its inception in 2000. The centre has also conducted five training sessions for chief ministers of different states wherein they were imparted skills on better coordination and effective policy making.
Sahasrabuddhe said despite the institute’s affiliation with the BJP and RSS, the campus has been kept ideologically neutral. The courses have been designed such that participants are taught all political ideologies, national and international policies and theories, social movements and election analysis.
HOW TO GET ADMISSION
The Indian Institute of Democratic Leadership has already received nearly 400 applications for 40 seats for the first batch starting August 1. To get enrolled, one has to complete graduation from any stream. The nine-month course will cost Rs 2.5 lakh including accommodation and mess fees. Applicants have to submit a “statement of purpose” for joining the programme. “The applicants will be shortlisted on basis of their response and their social and political background. They will be asked on why they want to join the programme and how they will utilise it in the future,” Sathe said.
Participants at Prabodhini are given training on basics of governance, functioning of key agencies and various government policies. Their teachers are political leaders, academicians, bureaucrats, legal and accounting experts. “We focus on functional training of participants so that they come to grips with the complexities of governance. They will be taught basics things like how to file an RTI application, public interest litigation, registering an NGO. At the same time, they will learn functioning of various government agencies like Niti Aagog, Reserve Bank and others,” Sahasrabuddhe said. We have coached not just BJP and RSS workers, but also those from the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena among others. “We do not impose our ideology here but are professional in our approach. The acceptability and popularity of the centre has only grown over the years,” he said.
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