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All I am interested in is social service, says Shaurya Doval

dehradun Updated: Aug 12, 2018 21:10 IST
Deep Joshi
Deep Joshi
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Uttarakhand news

Shaurya Doval.(HT FILE PHOTO)

“Frankly, I am not the right person to answer that query,” responded Shaurya Doval when asked if he had plans to contest from Pauri Lok Sabha constituency in the 2019 general elections. “All I am interested in is social service that I am doing for my people, so I can give back to the society I belong to.”

The query though was not entirely misplaced considering that the London Business School alumnus has his ancestral roots in Ghiri, a tiny mountain village in Uttarakhand’s Pauri district. The 42-year-old is the son of Ajit Kumar Doval, the National Security Advisor (NSA) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. A recent entrant into the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Uttarakhand unit, the junior Doval is director, India Foundation, the “chief think-tank” of the ruling party’s state and central units and its known ideological fount--- the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

And in true RSS traditions, say supporters, his strategy is simple: win the hearts and minds of the people first and their support will follow. No wonder, at a recent media interaction in Dehradun he parried the query on his foray into active electoral politics. The event, instead, had his focus on ‘Bemisal Garhwal, Buland Uttarakhand’, a “social campaign being carried out in Pauri under Shaurya’s leadership with full backing of RSS” through ‘Dharma Life’, a non-governmental organisation. “The NGO aims to generate unemployment opportunities for the local youth…it helps farmers enhance their income and also tries resolving health issues facing the people by organising medical camps in remote mountain villages,” said Ajay Doval, 37, the Pradhan (village head) of Ghiri, some 32 km north of the Pauri district headquarters. “All such activities will certainly help him muster support of his constituents, which will benefit him electorally, should BJP chooses to field him from Pauri in the next general elections.” As of now, however, Shaurya seems to be projecting himself as somebody who is reluctant to choose politics as a career and is keen on social service. “My view on this is very simple…I am doing a social service for the people of the area I come from and shouldn’t be linked with that (contesting polls),” Shaurya said.

The locals though feel the goodwill the social service will generate could bring the “political greenhorn” enormous electoral dividends. “That’s what we aim at,” said an RSS worker who is also a member of Shauriya’s crack team active in Pauri. The volunteer organisation (RSS) “has its booth-level workers spread out across the Pauri Lok Sabha constituency to publicise among the people all pro-poor schemes the BJP governments both at the Centre and in the state have introduced.”

This “quiet” publicity blitzkrieg is backed by a number of charity works — such as medical camps — being carried out in remote areas of Pauri. “Gynaecologists who are also a part of our medical teams organise special medical camps for pregnant women, so they could get both prenatal and postpartum (after birth) care.” the RSS worker said. “All patients who need further medical treatment are referred to a higher medical centre in Haridwar, with which ‘Life Dharma’ has a tie up.”

The NGO “also has a tie-up with a team of experts who frequently organise career counselling camps in colleges so that students can land suitable jobs both in private and public sectors,” said Ajendra Ajay, the state head of BJP’s media relations department and a close associate of Shaurya. “Students are also trained in various trades to encourage them to go for self-employment.”

Ajay says besides training farmers in innovative techniques, ‘Dharma Life’ also arranges for funds for them to help them purchase high milk yielding varieties of cows and buffaloes to enhance their income.

Initiatives such as these, say the locals, can help check forced migration from Pauri — highest in the state — by augmenting their income. “Anybody who works in that direction is welcome,” says Deepak Rawat, a resident of remote Charakot village. “It is good that he (Shaurya) is working in that direction…Let him continue with his efforts and also contest from here in the next Lok Sabha polls.”

Shaurya, on his part, says he has a clear vision of development for the mountain state. “My vision for development is all about creating self-employment opportunities for the local youth, which will help check distress migration from the hills. This employment-centric growth model, if implemented properly, will also lead to reverse migration.”

First Published: Aug 12, 2018 21:10 IST