The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Lessons for BJP ministers
Mahajan: New role

Mumbai, May 7: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh may still be pleading with the NDA to fill up the empty Opposition benches, but Indiaís first political college is already in session in picturesque Uttan in Bhayander near Mumbai.

BJP president L.K. Advani will address the concluding session of this first-ever training programme for BJPís politicians on Sunday.

A political college to train working politicians was the idea of BJP leader Pramod Mahajan. Two years ago, Mahajan launched the concept at the plush Rambhau Mhalgi Prabhodhini complex at Bhayander in the presence of then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Advani. But it took two years to organise a training programme for BJP ministers.

Mahajan inaugurated the three-day conclave on Friday. Eighty-three ministers from BJP-ruled states are attending the programme.

'A good political decision can be the worst administrative decision,' Mahajan told the delegates in his speech on how to balance administrative and political decision-making.

Even as the CAG report rapped the Rs 67-crore 'India Shining' campaign, Mahajan was explaining to the delegates that as a minister, a 'smile' is the first thing that disappears under the burden of responsibility and public expectations. He urged the ministers to take up at least one long-term project during their tenure.

Mahajan also urged the ministers to study and research any subject they deal with to earn the respect of the bureaucracy. 'Donít be enslaved by the bureaucracy and donít make it your slave,' he told them in Marathi, according to party sources.

Today, BJP vice-president Rajnath Singh and former Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar made a presentation on administration while BJP vice-president Bal Apte spoke on how to weave the BJPís 'distinct' political thought and ideology into politics. Sudheendra Kulkarni explained the finer aspects of media relations.

On Sunday morning, after a yoga session, the ministers will engage in a discussion with BJP vice-president Venkaiah Naidu. Sushma Swaraj will take over from Gopinath Munde and explain the importance of administrative reforms. At 3 pm, Advani will be present to conclude the programme.

'The training programme covers various aspects ranging from good governance, improving co-ordination between the party organisation and the government, handling media relations, (and) stress management. It will expose them to some really innovative ideas about administrative reforms,' said Vinay Sahastrabuddhe, the co-ordinator of the partyís national training cell and the Prabhodhiniís director-general.

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