National Security Adviser Ajit Doval’s son Shaurya Doval’s presence at Uttarakhand BJP state executive committee meeting in Haldwani on Sunday has given rise to speculation in the state about his formal entry into politics before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
While many BJP workers found his presence at the meeting “surprising”, Shaurya Doval (43), director of think tank India Foundation, which works closely with the government on policy issues, said he is not “currently” looking at politics.
“My task is to run the India Foundation. Currently I am not venturing into politics,” he told The Indian Express.
Doval said he is from Uttarakhand and has keen interest in the state’s development. “I was present at the meet (on Sunday) to observe, learn and see whether I can provide any input to the party (BJP),” he said.
The 260 members at Sunday’s executive committee meeting had, among the attendees, Chief Minister Trivendra Rawat, party’s Uttarakhand in-charge Shyam Jaju, a few state ministers, some BJP MLAs and MPs, party workers, and about 50-60 special invitees, Doval junior among.
Uttarakhand BJP president Ajay Bhatt said, “I had invited him (Doval) to the meeting as a ‘special invitee to the executive committee’. He is part of an advisory group of eight-nine members. I meet them whenever I am in Delhi and take their advice on various issues in Uttarakhand, especially those related to economy.”
His presence, however, triggered speculation within the local party ranks about Doval junior preparing the ground for electoral politics. His presence in the meeting also holds significance in wake of suggestions that the party’s state unit may have to look for younger faces, as some senior BJP leaders in the state are on the verge of political retirement.
State BJP chief Bhatt neither denied nor accepted the possibility of Doval entering politics. “Hum bhavishya mein inka laabh lenge (We will take benefit of his advice and experience in future),” Bhatt said.
Bhatt said that Shaurya Doval had “in the past given me interesting inputs on tackling the issue of migration in Uttarakhand, so I invited him to the committee’s meet so that he gets a better understanding of the state and party.”
On November 5, Doval had spoken on Uttarakhand’s economy at ‘Raibaar’, a state government programme to celebrate 17 years of the state’s formation. The event had participation from dignitaries, including Army chief General Bipin Rawat.
His presence was earlier noticed at Chaubattakhal, before the state Assembly elections, where he was seen gathering support for Satpal Maharaj, who was fighting the polls from the constituency in Pauri Garhwal district.