The 13th Leadership Lecture at T A Pai Management Institute (TAPMI), Manipal¬ was delivered by an eminent personality - Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, National Spokesperson – Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). She has been a part of BJP since 2006. The function started with a small prayer followed by a brief introduction of the speaker by Professor Vinod Madhavan, TAPMI. Dr Ramdas M Pai, Chancellor of Manipal University, Presided over the function. Dr. K. Ramnarayan, Vice-Chancellor, Manipal University explained about the “Silver Jubilee Lecture Series” at TAPMI, while Dr R C Natarajan, Director set the tone for discussion.
The topic for this Leadership Lecture was - ‘Does India need good politicians or good political parties’. Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman brought out the definition of a politician by quoting distinguished personages like Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln. She quoted that India, like every other country, needs good politicians and good political parties. A good politician contributes to his/her political party which further results in good nation building. She reminded the audience that it is we, the citizens who nurture vision and this description becomes critical.
There were thought-provoking questions from the Students which kept the speaker engaged throughout the discussion. Questions ranged from whether the political system was at fault or if they provided any valuable contribution to the country. The students expressed the deep anguish held by the population against politicians and the political system at large. There is a general perception prevalent that the political system, politicians and the political parties have failed. To this, the speaker responded that it was a collective failure of all three and no one factor could be singled out.
There were questions raised as to the role of political parties when it comes to dealing with incidents like the recent Hyderabad blasts. She responded saying that political parties are answerable to the public, but regardless of whatever stand political parties take, there is always unavoidable criticism associated with it. She addressed queries like if there was an ideal stage wherein it is feasible to maintain a clean political party. To this she maintained that Indian philosophy is based on taking the median path, and not by taking extreme stands. Our society consists of both kinds of people – good and bad.
Public opinion is very critical for democracy and has a huge weight in decision making. However, it is required to assess the position of the opinion, and the extent to which it can be analysed to take a stand. She threw light on the continued efforts of BJP towards the Lokpal Bill, and the diluted opinion which is withholding the bill from being passed.
The 13th Leadership Lecture thus came to its end after an enriching discussion carried forward by the speaker, faculty and the students. Professor Aparna Bhat, TAPMI proposed the vote of thanks. This Leadership lecture righteously stood out prominent with deep insights and value additions.