Tanmay Mondal from Bolpur wants to “learn the ropes” for a possible career in politics. Samprati Motghare from Bhilai wants to learn how to sell ideas like political parties do.
The two 27-year-olds, both final-year students of IIM Calcutta, will soon get to learn first-hand how a political party functions while working as interns with the Trinamul Congress.
Mondal and Motghare were selected from among 31 applicants from IIM Calcutta for an internship opportunity with Trinamul that Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien had announced while delivering a lecture at the institute in January.
Of the 14 candidates shortlisted from the pool, four were called to the final interview on Sunday based on their bio-data. The two other students in the final four were Rohit Gattani from Calcutta and Prodyut Purkait from Baruipur.
The group interview, conducted by O’Brien through video conferencing from Delhi, tested the candidates on everything from their understanding of their role in the party to their awareness of the economic and policy changes in the state and their views on Indian media.
What drew the most interesting responses was a question about the party itself: “What is the one attribute of Trinamul that appeals to you?”
Motghare mentioned fearlessness — “Your views might be different from ours but you put it forward fearlessly” — as Trinamul’s calling card and Purkait spoke about the party’s “customer focus”. Mondal identified “the leader’s vision” as the party’s X factor while Gattani said Trinamul stood out because it symbolised change.
“All of them are IIM Calcutta graduates (they have just written their final exams) and are very bright, but what we ultimately looked for is passion for politics,” O’Brien told Metro.
For Mondal, who has been following politics in Bengal and hopes to be part of it someday, the two-month internship beginning March 10 will be a field test.
“You can change things only by being part of the mainstream. Things at the ground level don’t always reflect the kind of thinking that leaders like Mamata Banerjee and educated politicians like Amit Mitra have. And if people like me can join her (Mamata), we can help her implement things and help change things,” Mondal said on being told that he had been selected.
The Besu graduate, who will be off to Dubai to work for a retail company after the internship, plans to be “active” in politics within seven to eight years.
Motghare, who will join an FMCG company in June, has been part of student elections while at IIT Delhi and IIM Calcutta, winning one and losing three.
“As a student of marketing, it will be a great opportunity to see how a political party markets and sells ideas, which is far more difficult than selling products,” said the former general secretary of IIM Calcutta’s student body.
Mondal and Motghare, who will be part of backroom operations in an election year, are eager to play a role in at least one campaign rally and meet Mamata in person.