A Sangh Parivar-backed organisation is offering a week-long specialised course in “political assistantship” for the personal assistants and private secretaries of BJP MPs.
With a fee of Rs 5,000, the “Certificate Course in Political Assistantship” offered by the Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini (RMP) lists the following objectives: “enhancing political understanding”, “enhancing skills and capacities” and “giving practical exposure and a hands-on experience”. Classes will be held at its “Knowledge Excellence Centre” in Bhayander near Mumbai from August 19-24.
The topics covered will include “roles and responsibilities of a PA”, “history of BJP, RSS”, “history of BJP in governance”, “overview of political situation”, “brief history of other political parties”, “parliamentary procedures”, “parliamentary tools”, “MPLADs” and “publicity and image building”.
“PAs are playing a big role in the way elected representatives are conducting themselves these days. In fact, PAs now have the ability to make or mar the political careers of the elected representatives they work with. With their role acquiring such criticality, there is no structured training available to hone their skills. The certificate course we are offering is aimed at not just giving them a clearer understanding about the role of a PA, but also to given them an insight in office management and enhance their soft-skills,” said Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, director general, RMP.
He added that they had already received 15-20 applications for the course.
According to the RMP, the course will include training on “skills and capabilities” like general alertness, responsiveness, office management, correspondence, reference and documenation, public relations, media relations, organisational relations and constituency linkages.
The focus will be on communication skills — how to speak courteously on the phone, how to write and respond to emails.
In a leaflet which gives details of the course, the RMP has underlined the importance of PAs. “This is not just a routine appointment,” it says, adding that a PA needs to be silent and unassuming as well as smart and assertive. “More importantly, PAs need to enjoy full confidence of the leader with whom they work. The mutual relationship of the leader and his PA is extremely critical to the success of their functioning together. Despite this, neither do PAs require to pass any qualifying examination nor it is mandatory for them to undergo some training,” it says.
RMP was set up as a memorial to Rambhau Mhalgi, an RSS pracharak and two-time Lok Sabha member. Late Union Minister Gopinath Munde was the chairman of its managing committee.
While it was set up to serve the cause of the BJP’s elected representatives, the RMP has not limited itself to the party. “We have had representatives from parties like Shiv Sena, MNS, NCP and even the Congress attend some of our courses in the past few years. This latest course, however, has been customised for personnel working with the BJP’s elected representatives,” said Sahasrabuddhe.
He, however, added that the RMP was reaching out to other parties as well, offering similar courses for their personnel.