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An HR Appraisal Of The Congress, AAP And BJP

‘Where AAP is concerned, productivity is measured in terms of dharnas staged.’

27/06/2017 12:21 PM IST | Updated 27/06/2017 12:21 PM IST
Adnan Abidi / Reuters

The first step in strategic human resource management (SHRM) is the articulation of a strategic goal. In the case of the Congress party, one of its strategic goals might well be "longevity in politics". Where the Aam Aadmi Party is concerned, its strategic goal could be "connect with constituents." Presumably, the BJP's strategic goal is "Make in India."

Once the strategic goal has been set, human resource management (HRM) practices need to be formulated so as to be aligned with that strategic goal. What is presented below is a succinct description of this alignment in three well known political parties in India, the Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party, and the BJP.

Staffing

Congress: Sonia Gandhi has remained the president of the Congress party for almost 20 years, a rare achievement for anyone heading a political party or business entity. She is likely to remain where she is without being replaced through promotion from within or recruitment from outside.

AAP: Arvind Kejriwal met farmers' leaders on 17 June. The meeting was made possible by the fact that the National Farmers' Conference was organised by the AAP. Behind the scenes efforts were made to interest the attendees in joining the party. This is standard practice in SHRM... connect with candidates before recruitment.

There appears to be no positive correlation between longevity in politics, and productivity.

BJP: When the BJP managed to win Goa, Manohar Parrikar was transferred back there from Delhi to serve as Chief Minister. There is no substitute for what is of proven ability, locally. What is made locally should be leveraged locally. Thus what is made in Goa should be leveraged in Goa and not despatched to Delhi.

Performance appraisal

Congress: Siddaramaiah led the Congress party to an absolute majority in the 2013 Legislative Assembly elections. If his performance holds, he can continue as chief minister well into the foreseeable future. This is standard practice in SHRM: leave the performers alone so that they can hold on to their performance.

AAP: This year, the AAP managed to secure 22 seats in Punjab's Legislative Assembly. This it managed to do by forging an alliance with the local Lok Insaaf Party. This alliance enabled the party to connect with local constituents.

BJP: Demonetisation was expected to give a boost to "Make in India", with its potential for weeding out corruption. The resounding victory in Uttar Pradesh, where the BJP secured 311 out of 403 seats is validation that nothing succeeds like success and that performance makes all the difference.

Training and development

Congress: Long-lasting party leader Digvijaya Singh participated in the training sessions of the Telangana Congress party earlier this year. The effort of experienced personnel to transfer knowledge to rising stars is always prescribed as a preferred approach in SHRM.

AAP: Arvind Kejriwal conducted training for grassroot-level volunteers recently. In the process, he managed to connect with his constituents.

BJP: The party has decided to hold training camps for its MLAs in Uttar Pradesh, so that they can learn law-abiding behaviour. This is a much recommended SHRM approach—that of giving periodic orientation classes to personnel, and not just at joining time.

Compensation

Congress: Bhupinder Hooda was considered a successful chief minister of Haryana and may have facilitated Robert Vadra's allegedly unlawful profit of ₹50 crores in a land deal. Hooda will live to be a long-serving member of the Congress party

Narendra Modi coined the phrase "Make in India". He then rewarded himself by making 26 foreign trips in 2016.

AAP: When the party managed completed a year in office in Delhi, in February 2016, Aam Aadmi Party MLAs were rewarded with a meal in their honour where the food bill allegedly came to ₹12,000 per person. This bill was paid from the national treasury.

BJP: Narendra Modi coined the phrase "Make in India". He then rewarded himself by making 26 foreign trips in 2016.

Retention

Congress: Sonia Gandhi will, in a few months' time complete 20 years as Congress party president. She is now seriously considering stepping down, but only to make way for her son to succeed her.

AAP:Upkar Singh Sandhu was dismissed from the Aam Aadmi Party, after a brief association of a few months. Prior to joining AAP, Sandhu was with the Congress party for about a month. Before that he was a member of SAD. He left and rejoined SAD all in the space of two months. He was dismissed because he failed to re-connect with his constituents.

BJP: "Make in India" is a concept that finds great favour with youth less than thirty years of age. To make the BJP a party of the young at heart, L.K. Advani, M. M. Joshi, and A.B. Vajpayee were eased out of BJP's Parliamentary Board a couple of years ago.

Productivity

Congress: One of the indices of productivity in Parliament is attendance by parliamentarians. Rahul Gandhi's attendance record is an unimpressive 54%, while his mother's is slightly better at 59%. Yet she is the longest serving president of the Congress. There appears to be no positive correlation between longevity in politics, and productivity.

AAP: Where AAP is concerned, productivity is measured in terms of dharnas staged. However, it is difficult to predict when a dharna will be successful. Kejriwal's dharnas are deemed to be successful even if there is no tangible result. On the other hand, when a suspended AAP member like Kapil Mishra holds a dharna, he is mocked.

BJP: In 2015, during the Bihar state elections, Modi addressed as many as 27 rallies, where he expounded on Make in India, among other things. The electorate, however, preferred the made-in-Bihar Nitish Kumar.

We can deduce from the above discussion that as far as political parties are concerned, a vertical fit exists, to use the terminology of strategic human resource management specialists. A vertical fit is the alignment between the strategic goal of an organisation, and its human resource management policies. A vertical fit is supposed to enable efficiency. Howeverthe three political parties examined here are not unequivocally efficient. A re-look of the concept of vertical fit with respect to strategic human resources is thus called for.

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