Aspirants head back to classroom to hone their leadership skills

A brief round of motivational talk and a few tips on body language and diction is what D D Rajput, a Congressman from north Gujarat, went through before being handed over a microphone at a one-of-its-kind coaching institute in Ahmedabad that chisels and polishes "leaders of the future".

Rajput, who aspires to represent his party from Tharad constituency in Banskantha district, is among a host of first-timers who, cutting across party lines, are taking formal training to prune their skills on public oration and leadership in the run-up to the December Assembly elections.

"Though I have been associated with the party for many years now, this is the first time I will be contesting elections. Along with several other probable candidates at the institute, I took this training last month," Rajput said while talking about his formal training.

Rajput is not alone. He has some probable names from rival BJP for company. Mavji Desai from Banaskantha and Dilipsinh M Mahida who plans to contest from Anand, are some of the popular faces who have been working hard on their public speaking skills. "The training has certainly helped me in overcoming my fear of public speaking and addressing a gathering. I have been dealing with people but stage management is entirely a different art. I am hopeful of contesting elections from Anand district," Mahida said.

Ramesh Shah, the founder and trainer of city-based Siddharth Speakers Academy, said that nearly "50 per cent of the trainees" in the last three batches were representatives of political parties "who were preparing for the upcoming elections (in December)". "These include IPS officers, doctors and advocates among others who nurtured political ambitions," he said.

While Shah claimed that former IPS officer K D Patadia who joined the BJP recently also took training at the institute and that it was his "last day at the academy when a formal announcement of him joining the BJP was made", the BJP leader denied having taken any such training. "With the kind of leader and inspiration (chief minister) Narendra Modi is, why would anyone require to be trained at an institute. His speeches are more than any formal training," he said.

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