This weekend, ministers from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will take lessons in good governance.
For three days, starting Friday nearly 125 BJP ministers from eight BJP-ruled states will participate in a training workshop organised by the Central Training Cell of the party at Uttan, Bhayander.
The workshop—conducted in association with the Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini (RMP), Wadala—will help ministers evaluate and improve their performances and teach them how to ensure the work they do reaches the people at the ground level.
The workshop, which will be inaugurated on Friday by BJP president Rajnath Singh, will aim to improve the participants' communication and management skills, update them on current issues, sensitize them towards the party's ideology and ensure better intra-party interaction.
"Serving society is the basic motivation for people to join politics," Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, director-general of RMP and convenor of the workshop explained. "When they become 'professional' politicians, they forget this and need to be reminded."
The party has been conducting such workshops at various levels to sharpen its members' political skills. But ever since its dismal performance in the 2004 Lok Sabha polls, it has been more concerned about the performances of its ministers in states where it is in power, either independently or in an alliance.
The ministers, including deputy chief ministers of Bihar and Karnataka, will participate in plenary sessions and group discussions and discuss success stories of other governments. While BJP vice-president Bal Apte and senior leaders Murli Manohar Joshi and Venkaiah Naidu are among the resource persons for the workshop, experts from the fields of urban affairs, health and other sectors will also address the participants.
They will also be prepared for the forthcoming elections and this, understandably, includes a session in yoga. The RMP will also play a recorded talk on the art of public speaking given by the late BJP leader Pramod Mahajan, during last year's session. Former party president, LK Advani will conclude the session.
The party has been organising similar workshops for party members but it is only the second such workshop for ministers.
The chief ministers from BJP-ruled states will, however, stay away and attend to their respective states while their deputies learn a thing or two about good governance.
"People ridicule the idea of politicians sitting in a class and polishing their skills," Sahasrabuddhe rued. "But our experience has been encouraging. This also serves as a platform for the ministers to air their grievances."