New Delhi: On January 25, former Kerala Chief Minister and Congress leader AK Antony’s son Anil Antony resigned from the Congress party citing “intolerant calls to retract tweet,” regarding a BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The decision comes after the severe flak he faced for his recent tweet against the public screening of the BBC documentary ‘India: The Modi Question’. The two-part documentary claims it investigated certain aspects relating to the 2002 Gujarat riots when Modi was the State’s, Chief Minister.
In the controversial BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the now-resigned Congress politician had backed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). “Despite large differences with BJP, I think those in India placing views of BBC, a British state-sponsored channel with a long history of India prejudices, and of Jack Straw, the brain behind the Iraq war, over Indian institutions is setting a dangerous precedence, will undermine our sovereignty,” Anil K Antony, Digital communications, Kerala Congress said in a tweet on January 23.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), the youth wing of CPM, the Students Federation of India (SFI) and the Congress screened the documentary ‘India: the Modi Question’ at various places in Kerala yesterday.
Taking to Twitter, Anil Antony said, “I have resigned from my roles in @[email protected] Intolerant calls to retract a tweet, by those fighting for free speech. I refused. @facebook wall of hate/abuses by ones supporting a trek to promote love! Hypocrisy thy name is! Life goes on. Redacted resignation letter below.”
I have resigned from my roles in @incindia @INCKerala.Intolerant calls to retract a tweet,by those fighting for free speech.I refused. @facebook wall of hate/abuses by ones supporting a trek to promote love! Hypocrisy thy name is! Life goes on. Redacted resignation letter below. pic.twitter.com/0i8QpNIoXW
— Anil K Antony (@anilkantony) January 25, 2023
On January 23, Antony said that no matter what, political leaders should not let foreign entities and external agencies exploit internal differences to create divisions in this country.
Antony said that the Gujarat riots are one of the darkest chapters that have happened in this country’s history. “Whatever I had said, as far as the big picture is concerned, there is nothing that is different from anything the Congress party is saying. I am a Congressman, my father is still in the party for the last 6 decades, and there is no difference in anything the Congress party has said. The Gujarat riots happened almost 20 years back when I was a child, so I don’t even know what happened, but I can confidentially say that it is one of the darkest chapters that has happened in this country’s history,” he said.
“This is my personal decision and I do think this is the best course of action. I did not discuss it with my father. I’ve sent my resignation and I hope that the leadership will accept it. I don’t think this Congress has space for me,” Antony said. He alleged that he had received threat calls and hate messages “through the night”. “A lot of things that happened in the last 24 hours, especially from certain corners of Congress, have hurt me a lot,” Anthony said.
The Congress leader further said, “However, we have a Supreme Court, we have our institutions and finally, I was speaking from my conscience, I saw a certain narration that was happening in the last three-four days and I do think that no matter what internal differences we may have we shouldn’t let that be exploited by foreign entities. We (political parties) shouldn’t let external agencies exploit that to create division in this country and I felt that we are going towards that trajectory and hence I made that tweet. As I said the big picture is that there is nothing which is different then what Congress is saying. However, we feel that we should not let our internal differences be exploited by people from outside.”
In a tweet, Anthony said that he was facing “intolerant calls” to retract one of his previous tweets in which he had condemned the documentary on PM Modi and termed it a “dangerous precedent.”
In his resignation letter, Anthony said he did not give in to the demands to retract the tweet and instead was submitting his resignation from the party. The former Defence Minister’s son also took a potshot at the ongoing Bharat Jodo Yatra by Rahul Gandhi.
Anthony said it would be “appropriate” for him to step down from his roles as the KPCC digital media convener and the national coordinator of the Congress social media and digital communication cell.
“By now, I have been made well aware that you, your colleagues, and the coterie around the leadership are only keen to work with a bunch of sycophants and chamchas, who would unquestionably be at your beck and call. This has become the lone criterion of merit. Sadly we don’t have much common ground,” Anthony wrote.
Antony added, “I would prefer to continue my other professional endeavors without being fed this negativity and being involved in these destructive narratives, many against the very core interests of India. These I strongly believe will end up in the dustbin of history with time.”
In Kozhikode, Youth Congressmen screened the documentary, and BJP carried out a strong protest march against the screening. Speaking on occasion, District president Sajeevan said that the CPM, who advocates for ‘freedom of expression” on top of its voice, did not permit to screen of the movie on the murder of the assassination of rebel CPM leader TP Chandrasekharan who CPM workers killed in May 2012. It is a blatant example of a double standard. At the same time, the spokespersons of Congress and CPM keep arguing in favour of freedom of expression. If it is against RSS and Modi, they support it in the name of freedom of expression. But, if somebody posts something on FB against Pinarayi Vijayan, he will have to face legal action.
Kerala BJP president K Surendran protested against the attack on the Janam TV journalist and cameraman on the JNU campus last night, January 24. Gautham Ananthanarayanan and Unni K Warrier were attacked by the Left-Jihadi team when they went to the campus to cover the BBC documentary screening and the related issues. The attackers shouted: “RSS channel, leave the campus”.
In Kerala, the police is registering cases against BJP and BJYM workers for protesting against the screening of the BBC documentary. It is undisputed that a documentary or feature movie requires a censorship certificate before screening; otherwise, it is illegal. But, in Kerala, the police stand is incredible. They say since the documentary is not banned, they cannot take legal action against the screening of the BBC documentary.
( with inputs from ANI )