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Congress leader AK Antony in a spot following son's quitting the party over BBC documentary

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Congress leader AK Antony in a spot following sons quitting the party over BBC documentary
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File photos of AK Antony & son Anil Antony

Thiruvananthapuram: National-level leader of the Congress party from Kerala, AK Antony has been put in a tight spot with his son Anil Antony's handling of the controversy over the BBC documentary on Modi 'India: The Modi Question' which the Congress leadership and rank and file in Kerala have been screening all over the state with alacrity. The Congress party units, as much as the ruling party CPI-M, has been at the forefront in defying the Central Government's ban of the documentary and its screenings either in the open or via digital devices.

Anil's tryst with the state leadership came after he commented in a tweet against the BBC's production. Thereafter he was flooded with calls to retract his tweet which soon led him to sever his ties with not only the social media wing but even with the very party his father has religiously stuck to against all odds.

Anil quit his post alleging "intolerant calls to retract a tweet", in which he had defied his party line and called the party's support for the BBC docu a "dangerous precedent". He had been in charge of KPCC digital media cell and national coordinator of AICC social media and digital communications cell. Now he has resigned from all party posts saying that he received a disappointing response from party leaders and members on his tweet. He alleged a culture of sycophancy and intolerance in the party. "It pained me a lot. I have decided that there is no point in continuing like this," he said.

However, Anil has also made it clear that no one should interpret his move as any defection to the BJP, but he would move to his professional career.

IANS reports that according to insiders, 82-year-old Antony, who currently holds the record of being the longest serving Defence Minister in the country, is deeply upset over a remark made by his junior colleague Jairam Ramesh.

Without naming, Ramesh drew a comparison between former Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy's son -- Chandy Oommen -- and Antony's son Anil Antony.

"A tale of two sons of two CMs from the same state. One is a Bharat Yatri and walking tirelessly, mostly barefoot to unite our nation in the Bharat Jodo Yatra. The other is revelling in his day in the Sun today having ignored his duties to the party and the yatra," the former Union minister Ramesh wrote on his Twitter handle.

After his term ended in the Upper House in April last year, Antony returned to the state capital to his house here.

Since then, he has largely kept aloof from public platforms and barring occasional visits to office in the state party headquarters, he is rarely seen in public party functions.

Antony, who is known for always keeping a low profile, is also known for his sensitive nature.

A media critic on condition of anonymity said Antony is perhaps going through a very tough time because of the way his son reacted.

"Knowing the Congress leaders' mindset, it can be said that the attack is not against Anil, but against Antony. When in Delhi, Antony has always wielded the sword of discipline against erring state leaders by prevailing upon the party high command. And when it came to distribution of party tickets, his was the last word. The ground rule in the state unit of the party in the past over two decades was never to rub Antony on the wrong way," IANS quoted the source.

Incidentally, on Wednesday when he came to attend a private function, Antony dodged the media's questions on his son saying that he is in a private function.

Now all eyes will be on the ongoing Assembly session as the treasury benches will lose no chance to hit the Congress-led opposition when they take Antony and his son's statement to checkmate the opposition.

(Inputs from IAS)

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TAGS:Narendra ModiOommen ChandyIndian ConstitutionAK AntonyCongress partyBBC documentaryAnil Antony
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