Wednesday, February 21, 2024

An institute for budding politicians

An institute here not only teaches its students history, political science, law and Gandhian principles but also what to wear and how, the apt hair and beard style and the art of public speaking – in short, how to excel in politics.
The institute is however still unrecognised, holds classes only on Sundays, charges Rs 5,000 for a three-month course, doesn’t yet pay its teachers, has politicians as visiting faculty but still has 35 students on roll.
It also does not seem to be in a hurry to seek recognition from any university or the state or the central government for the diploma it will award to students who pass the examination at the end of three months.
Political friends-turned-bitter rivals, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Janata Dal-S (JD-S), and the main opposition party Congress were well represented at the function to launch the National Institute of Political Excellence early this week. Sharing the podium were former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy of the JD-S, state Law Minister S Suresh Kumar of the BJP and former chairman of state legislative council VR Sudarshan of the Congress and H S Doreswamy, a well-known freedom fighter and Gandhian.
“The students will be taught not just history, political science and law but what to wear and how, and the apt hair and beard style and the art of public speaking as well,” said G B Raju, a lawyer who practises at the Karnataka High Court and the promoter of the institute.
“IT professionals, graduates, unemployed youth and some who are already into politics have enrolled in the first batch at the institute, located at Rajajinagar in west Bangalore,” Raju said.
“In our institute we plan to groom politicians who will serve the people of the nation,” he said.
“From teaching Indian history, political science, world affairs, Gandhian philosophy, the Indian constitution, important laws, procedures followed in civic bodies, legislative assembly and Parliament to other nitty gritty of politics, the course aims to prepare qualified politicians with a good hold over public governance,” Raju claimed.
The course material has been prepared by former Bangalore University professors in political science, history, law and related subjects, he said.
To get the diploma, the students have to pass exams for 500 marks, of which 100 will be for field work, like reporting the assembly and council proceedings. The minimum marks to pass is 33 per cent.
There is no age bar and no minimum qualification to join the course.
The faculty members are lawyers, professors in history, political science and constitution as well as experienced politicians.
“Politics is no easy game. Before theBruhat Bangalore Mahanagar Palike (BBMP, Greater Bangalore City Corporation) elections, which are likely within six months, I want to brush up my knowledge in various spheres of public governance at the institute,” said Prem Kumar, a JD-S member planning to contest the forthcoming BBMP elections, on why he is taking the course.
Jose Ralph, an IT professional and another student of the institute, said that he wanted to work for society and hoped the course will help him hone his skills to become a politician.
On recognising the institute, Bangalore University registrar Sanjay Bir Singh said though it was a good initiative, the university “won’t be able to certify the institute as we do not provide any course in political governance”.
“We are yet to start a course in political governance, although we conduct classes for corporate governance. Thus we are helpless now as far as giving any kind of recognition to the institute. A set of rules has to be followed before giving recognition to any college or institute,” Singh said.
The 55-year-old Raju is unfazed. “We’re preparing a draft to be presented to several Indian universities for recognition,” he said.
On the source of funds to start the venture, Raju said he has been helped by friends. “I have also spent a lot of money,” he said.
As far as paying the faculty is concerned, Raju said that all would be working on a voluntary basis. “Probably, later on the institute will fix an amount to be paid to the faculty members on a monthly basis,” he said.

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