Cover Story: Be Responsible, Remain Positive: Modi Message to BJP MPs
Intro: The new MPs must go to library, make a thorough study and try to master the subject. Whenever a Member speaks, he should not create an embarrassment to anyone. Please read the rules and the procedures in Parliament. It is like Bhagwat Gita for all the MPs.
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi urged the party MPs to be responsible and positive. He said there are huge expectations among the people and we have to rise to that level of expectations. He was inaugurating the recently held training session at Surajkund organised by the BJP and attended by 180 first timer MPs from both the Houses of Parliament. There were old time party organisation men who are first timers in the Parliament. Also, there were persons who are latest entrants in the BJP, many with Congress background, eager to understand BJP culture. There were post-graduates, management experts, singers and artistes, farmers and also professionals. The first and foremost that was achieved at the end of this training was meeting of minds.
In his presidential remarks, Party President Rajnath Singh lauded the efforts of party’s training cell as well as parliamentary wing and expressed confidence that such efforts alone can make this largest democracy in the world into also the finest democracy. Reminding the MPs of their responsibility towards their constituencies, he urged them to ensure an orderly and disciplined conduct in the House. “The new MPs must go to library, make a thorough study and try to master the subject. Whenever a Member speaks, he should not create any embarrassment to anyone. Please read the rules and the procedures in Parliament. It is like Bhagwat Gita for all the MPs,” he said.
We learnt from this camp how to do work professionally taking everybody together and ensuring that our actions do not earn discredit to the party or the government. It was wonderful experience. We also were made acquainted with the parliamentary procedure, how to ask question perfectly and how to join the debate, how to prepare ourselves before entering the Parliament House, etc.
—Rajkumar Saini MP, Kurukshetra, Haryana
Veteran party leader Shri LK Advani stressed the need that our long-term vision should be only for India and Indian politics should be one in which there is no distinction whatsoever between majority and minority communities in public life. “Indeed, we should make these categories of majority and minority completely irrelevant, while fully safeguarding the people’s right and freedom to follow their respective religions.”
He said in the traditional way of governance, there has been disconnect between the government machinery and the people in addressing the development challenges. This is why we are not getting the desired results, even though the government spends considerable resources on each of these various issues. Therefore, Narendrabhai is right in insisting that development should become a People’s Movement. “Many things are needed to make this happen. But what is relevant in today’s context is that our Ministers and Members of Parliament should take the lead in involving people in the implementation of government schemes, programmes and policies. I suggest that the new party president, and a small group of ministers and party functionaries, working under the guidance of Prime Minister, should prepare the guidelines to implement this very important and useful thought. It is no doubt useful for the BJP because when our ministers and MPs take the initiative in making Development a People’s Movement, the people are bound to support us in future elections,” he added.
Most remarkable, of course was the inspiring speech of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who urged the first-timer Party MPs to develop a sense of mission towards their duties and select at least one subject for self-study to have deeper understanding in it. “To be a Member of Parliament is an important thing and one must look at it seriously. Remember, people are observing your performance in the house but even outside. Our transition from opposition to treasury is not limited to moving few feet to the other side. This is a significant transition and we must try to appreciate the meaning of this”, he said. Urging party MPs not to get disillusioned by small issues he reminded them that there is no full stop in politics.
Modi Mantra to MPs
PM Modi has interacted with the BJP MPs thrice and every time he has given them some tips to be effective instruments in Governance
Appealing party MPs to eschew every kind of negativism, he stressed that our approach to parliamentary party has to be that of mutuality and fellow feeling. “We are a family and all are working for a common goal. Try to make new friends, learn from each other and develop a new collectivism”, he said. Reminding the party MPs that training is not a ritual, he elaborated on how BJP has a very long and sturdy tradition of capacity building. He also exhorted them to become a well-knit wholesome organisational entity. “We are not just an assemblage of individuals under one roof”, he had reminded them. “This training camp is to prepare yourself for a bigger role and fulfill common people’s aspirations. The training is for fulfilling our goal as a representative of the people. We have to create confidence among the people by fulfilling their aspirations. Our collective power, our conduction and our hard work will give a good impact in the House. If we are able to solve the problems of poor people of India by passing a Bill, the generations will remember about our government. We should speak more about positive aspects. We should not be negative.
MPs will enjoy the benefit of this training for long
Alok Kumar, Convener, BJP Training Cell
The BJP has been organising such camps from the very beginning, probably from 1962. Deendayalji and Advaniji had always been taking a very keen interest in this matter. Since this time the BJP has got largest number of new MPs—170 in Lok Sabha and 25 in Rajya Sabha—they needed to be given information about the BJP ideology. Second objective of the camp was to equip the members with the information about the parliamentary procedures and tips for becoming an effective Member of Parliament. Third was to give them tips on how to serve their constituencies the best. The fourth was to tell them how to interact with the BJP and Sangh associated organisations. One of the most important tips, which the MPs sometime ignore, is good projection of their work and keeping the contacts alive. So, there was a powerpoint presentation session on media relation and handling the social media. Senior leaders provided all the tips. The ideological issues included the journey from Jansangh to BJP and the basics of our ideology. I am happy that the faculty included the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi himself and many other senior leaders. There was absolutely free interaction between all. I feel the MPs will enjoy benefit of this training for long time.
The atmosphere at the training camp was that of informal camaraderie. Remarkably, even ministers like Prof Jitendra Singh sat in the audience like a student with fellow MPs. None was unduly status conscious and there were no burden of protocols. Many found comfort in the fact that most new MPs feel like a new college entrant. A bit unsure, at times even confused! “This is but natural since you are the beginners. Spend as much time as possible in the House, be attentive, seek guidance from ever willing seniors and you will earn confidence”, they were rightly told. Both, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley gave them invaluable practical tips on how to make a mark in the business of parliament. Both urged the greenhorn MPs to try and spend as much time as possible also in to the parliamentary library. In another session, Venkaiya Naidu; whose initiative made this training possible, dwelt extensively on coordination between the elected representatives and the party organisation. Many first-timers reacted very positively to these inputs.” On parliamentary tools, at least came to know that we know precious little”, commented one. A young woman MP said,” I was in Zilla Parishad earlier and the very sight of the huge Parliament House made me feel very shy and even bewildered. Now that I know ways and means of effective parliamentary participation, I feel greatly equipped and thereby hugely confident”.
Advocate Alok Kumar, former deputy speaker of Legislative Assembly of Delhi dwelt at length on the history and contribution of the BJP in Indian polity. To many young MPs, listening to the journey of BJP since 1951 when Jan Sangh was founded was highly inspiring. Although in brief, Alok Ji also highlighted some unique aspects of the organisational profile of the Party.
This author was entrusted with the task of conducting a session on Basics of Ideology. The idea was to help participants understand the cardinal principles of party philosophy, especially the five fundamentals know as Panchnishtha. They are Nationalism and national unity, Democracy; Equality based society, Positive Secularism and Value-based Politics. An introduction to Integral Humanism, a doctrine propounded by Deendayal Upadhyaya was also a part of this session.
In another session, Union Ministers duo Prakash Javdekar and Piyush Goyal guided the delegates on understanding the importance of media as well as social media. It was quite interesting to note that MPs from backward areas of UP and Bihar too were keen to know how effectively they can put up a website and use Facebook or Twitter. Delegates were also told about how to be careful about the posts on their walls. Ram Naik, former union minister and a veteran of Lok Sabha conducted a special session on “Nurturing the Constituency”. From ensuring greater accessibility to imaginatively using local area development fund and from conducting a smart office to using business cards printed on post it slips, Naik covered a whole range of issues. Lal Krishna Advani's valedictory address was like blessings of a father figure reminding the delegates about the challenge of huge popular expectations.
At a session conducted by Party Organising Secretary Ram Lal, delegates thoroughly enjoyed participating in some management games. While leaving from Surajkund, all had this feeling of having made new friends, cultivated new acquaintances and a realisation that they are not the only freshers!
(A report by Vinay Sahasrabuddhe and V Shanmuganathan)