Emotionally yours

What secrets lie buried in the EQ test that Madhya Pradesh's ministers took at Pachmarhi?

In 2009, a few months after the BJP had won the assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and 25 other ministers retreated into the glades of Pachmarhi. The new ministers attended a workshop, jointly conducted by the School of Good Governance and Policy Analysis and IIM-Indore, to identify their strengths and weaknesses. At some point that weekend, an emotional quotient (EQ) test was conducted. But the BJP has been tight-lipped about the "sensitive" results ever since what happened in Pachmarhi stays in Pachmarhi, is the general party line. Now, the Madhya Pradesh High Court, responding to an RTI petition, has directed the state government to make the results public.

Emotional intelligence became part of pop jargon after Daniel Goleman's 1995 book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, a phrase that has already been absorbed into management speak. Politicians, however, have been slow to take to it. Indeed, some questions in an EQ test might make a minister squirm. For instance, are you always looking for ways to improve your performance, including asking people younger than you for advice? Do you readily make sacrifices for larger organisational goals? Do you admit your own mistakes? India's netas, who like their daily durbars and cheerfully follow an off-with-his-head policy on detractors within the party, could have trouble adjusting to these new-fangled notions.

At Pachmarhi, Chouhan and his ministers were tested on parameters like trust, integrity, compassion and emotional expression. Reportedly, they scored low on trust and integrity, which could explain the BJP's reticence. But on emotional expression, the party can't have had much to worry about. Chouhan, who is said to tear up magazines that contain sex surveys to protect his sons from such material, and once brandished fistfuls of grain at voters to illustrate a tirade against Congress misrule, must have scored full marks there.

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