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'Our idea of politics has become limited and perverse'

The new VP of BJP, Dr Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, says the party’s manifesto for Maharashtra will include solutions to tackle issues such as farmer suicides

The Ram Bhau Malghi Prabhodini building in Uttan, around 40 kilometres away from Mumbai, is regarded as the second headquarters of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) by many members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).  The building, run by director general Dr Vinay Sahasrabuddhe for more than two decades, has been a centre of learning for the BJP, RSS and its allied parties.

Dr Vinay Sahasrabuddhe
Dr Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, the new VP of the BJP, says the party’s policy department will have certain duties

Recently Sahasrabuddhe, who is also an academician, was elevated to the post of vice president in the BJP. His inclusion in Amit Shah’s team didn’t come as a surprise to many in the party as, according to them, Shah turned to Sahasrabuddhe whenever there was a need for technical support. The latter was also rumoured to be the man responsible for furnishing Shah’s back office with important information such as statistics, research material and so on.

 Sunday mid-day met Sahasrabuddhe at his office in Prabodhini campus. Seated in front of a world map, which he claimed is the real version as released by the UNESCO, we saw him sporting a kurta for the first time (the politician is usually attired in a pair of pants and shirt). In the course of our conversation, we learnt that Sahasrabuddhe will be responsible for formulating party policies and will also be a key person in charting the BJP manifesto for the Maharashtra assembly.

 We began our chat by quizzing him about the need for an academician in the party. “Our idea of politics has become limited and perverse. Political parties are institutions and not just five to six people coming together to pick up banners, register a name and print visiting cards,” he said. “Unfortunately we have been reduced to that level and that is the reason why we have more than 1,300 political parties. A policy differentiates a party from another party, but in this scenario, almost no political party has a policy department.”

“The BJP has now created a policy department and I am taking care of it,” he continued. “Parties have to perform certain academic duties, one of which is forming a policy department complete with a support structure, researchers and academicians. There are 60-year-old parties, but they don’t have an archival department, a system for documentation or someone to maintain a website — you need all this to have a dialogue with decision makers.”

He claimed that he is unsure about his role in the party. When pressed about the manifesto of Maharashtra, Sahasrabuddhe explained that it will include policies and solutions to tackle issues such as farmer suicides, among other things. “We will surely have policies that have been implemented in other BJP-run states. We would like to learn from their experiences.”   

Reports have suggested that in spite of being close to Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, Sahasrabuddhe never found a place in his team. He, however, rubbished the reports. “This is media hogwash, I worked with Nitinji and Mundeji. I am equally close to all. One can suggest ideas and it is up to the leader to pick it up,” he added.

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