16 June, 2021

A Short Walk To Bogtown

Is Ajit Doval, the PM’s eyes and ears, turning the PMO blind and deaf to reality?

Jitender Gupta
A Short Walk To Bogtown

There’s a story, possibly apo­cryphal, most likely impos­sible, about the siege of the Pathankot air base as the new year dawned. With the prime minister out of the capital when the operations to regain control were on, an official in the PMO kept getting calls from a minister wanting to know the state of play before he could brief the media. Those who claim to walk in such corridors in Lutyens’ Delhi say the recipient kept bru­s­quely disconnecting the repeated calls. There are some who would instantly claim to know who it was who could turn down a minister so flamboyantly; many would dismiss the story as outrageously bogus. But such is the clout and reputation of Ajit Kumar Doval, super sleuth-turned-National Security Advisor.

After the January 2016 attack ended, when the Narendra Modi government fin­ally announced that 500 security personnel, including 150 NSG commandos, had ‘neutralised’ the six terrorists confined inside the heavily guarded air base, there was muted self-congratulation on display. Comparisons were made with...

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