Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Man of the New Year 2015- Ajit Doval - Eyes and Ears of PM Modi

If 2014 belonged to Narendra Modi; the moot question is will 'super spy' Ajit Doval will emerge as the Man of the Year 2015?

One single big take away from the Mandate 2014 is at the end of the day, it is not only the story of a winner taking it all; but what counts most is the ‘mass appeal’ of a political stardom. That was Narendra Modi enigma.
But that was past. Six months since government formation; what is debated is who’s the ‘eyes and ears’ of supposed to be all powerful Prime Minister, Modi.
If recent trends are any indication and if the grapevine in the corridors of power is to be taken seriously, the National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval seems to walk away with the cake.

It’s not all guess or faking out in the power lobbies. The NSA Ajit Doval matters quite a lot in the ‘Modi Sarkar’.
“For Modi regime, the northeast insurgency issues including the complex Naga or ULFA peace talks and certain matters related to foreign policy framework have been passed onto the bureaucratic horizon. The Prime Minister Modi’s National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval is often calling the shots now,” says an insider.

In his wisdom, the Prime Minister decided to give Doval, a former Intelligence Bureau man, upper hand in foreign policy matters as also peace talks with insurgent groups in northeast India because the bill (read Doval) suits Modi “politically”. 

It is given to understand that in the process Modi has kept both Rajnath Singh (Home Minister) and Sushma Swaraj (External Affairs Minister) under check.
“That’s Modi’s style of functioning wherein he uses experts and technocrats to cut the political rivals into size. He did it in Gujarat and he is doing it now,” a BJP leader agrees rather acidly.

Many in bureaucratic circle are drawing parallelism between Doval and Atal Behari Vajpayee’s NSA, Brajesh Mishra. Others, however, say the comparison is not just fair as Mishra was a longtime friend of Vajpayee and was also Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister. But in case of Doval, he just wears the ‘NSA’ hat and cannot be called a friend of Modi.
Rumour: Has Doval overshadowed Sushma as Foreign Minister
There are also murmuring in BJP that before 2009 general elections, there used to be close hobnobbing between Doval and the L K Advani camp.
But some BJP insiders say Doval has been advising Modi on a number of issues since last one year, that is from the time campaign for Lok Sabha elections started had picked up in 2013.
Doval-run Vivekananda International Foundation in Delhi also provided with certain inputs to then Gujarat chief minister when he spoke in various fora across the country.
It is also presumably believed that it was Doval first whom Modi discussed about inviting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for the May 26 swearing in gala in Delhi.

Doval reportedly had told the then PM-designate, “why only Pakistan sir, why don’t you invite all SAARC nations”. Modi immediately latched on to the idea and followed it up with shooting the invite missives across South Asia even though the South Block mandarins in foreign ministry initially thought the time was too short to ensure such a mammoth gathering and do the necessary spade work.
May 27, 2014
Lately again the Prime Minister sprang a surprise and has invited the US President Barack Obama for 26 January, 2015 Republic Day parade.
Here too, sources say, MEA was hardly consulted and NSA’s opinion prevailed.

In last six months Prime Minister’s three major overseas sojourns – to the United States, Japan and Australia-Myanmar and Fiji were again largely seen as exclusive Narendra Modi show. 

Even as Modi stole headlines both home and abroad and dominated the TV time space with his unique mannerism and ‘rock star’ speeches; in fact, more than once the External Affairs Minister Sushma, onetime high-profile talented orator and PM-probable, was reduced to just “receiving PM” on arrival at the Indira Gandhi International Airport.
 “We hardly know of instances wherein Prime Minister has consulted his Minister (Sushma) not to talk about the Ministry per se,” says a mandarin in the South Block.

 In North Block, that is the Home Ministry vis-à-vis northeast India too, the script is reportedly almost the same. Once Modi realized that like him even Rajnath Singh did not have much knowledge about the complexity of northeast insurgency, it was natural to turn focus towards Doval, a former IB official, who also played a role during the successful 1986 peace negotiations with late rebel leader Laldenga in Mizoram.  

Thus Doval was almost given free hand to chalk out his northeast strategy. Doval appointed another retired IPS official R N Ravi as the chief interlocutor for Naga talks – now in negotiations since 1997. 
In the melee of these developments as we talk of PM’s reliability on Doval with BJP and RSS offering very limited talent pool and expertise; another factor that comes in between is that how Modi-Doval equation has gone down to the Sanghparivar and especially its fountainhead, the much influential RSS.

By 2009 when BJP under the leadership of L K Advani suffered a humiliating defeat, Doval took a major initiative to turn then newly launched Vivekananda International Foundation as a key strategic think-tank in Delhi
The organization all throughout was known as a renowned anti-Manmohan Singh government lobby with strong ties to the RSS and also to the federal intelligence agencies.  

Now, a section of BJP leaders claim there are reasons to believe that Doval’s influence has increased manifold in last six months as he has been able to also play “a proper coordinator” between the Prime Minister (if not the government itself) and the RSS especially on foreign matters and South Asian paradigm.

The Sangh also seemed to have cultivated a ‘belated realization’ that northeast India and eastern neighbours like Myanmar should get their importance. 

Ram Madhav, a RSS appointee to the BJP, two months back demanded that Myanmar should be made invitee member to the SAARC parivar. Many see that such belated realization could be a game-changer in more ways than one. And Doval is important in these facets.
Doval and Foreign Secy Sujata Singh
Doval's no non-sense image gels well with the Prime Minister Modi’s reputation of ‘go getter attitude’ and thus many – admirers and critics – equally believe Narendra Modi-Ajit Doval duo would easily ensure an aggressive foreign policy for India


1 comment:

  1. Doval in India and Sartaj Aziz in Pakistan are enjoying the confidence of their PMs and both are basking in the incompetence of their bosses.