Veteran Congress leader AK Antony’s son Anil resigned from all his party posts on Wednesday, upset over “intolerant calls” and “abuses” by party supporters over his tweet against the controversial BBC documentary on 2002 Gujarat riots.
Anil K Antony’s resignation came a day after his tweet in which he said that despite differences with the BJP, those who support and place the views of the British broadcaster and of former UK foreign secretary Jack Straw, the “brain behind the Iraq war” over Indian institutions are setting a dangerous precedent.
Also Read: Received threats over tweet on BBC’s Modi documentary, says Anil Antony after leaving Congress
The tweet led to an avalanche of criticism from Congress workers on social media, which prompted Anil to quit as Convenor of Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee’s Digital Media Convenor and National Coordinator of AICC Social Media and Digital Communications Cell post a “redacted version” of the letter on Twitter.
I have resigned from my roles in @incindia @INCKerala.Intolerant calls to retract a tweet,by those fighting for free speech. @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
“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…,” Anil tweeted with a “redacted version” of the letter. He said he believed that it would be appropriate for him to leave all his roles in Congress, considering the events from Tuesday.
His father AK Antony did not comment on Anil’s action when he was approached by media in Kerala, saying journalists should have some sense not to seek reactions when he was attending a marriage function.
However, he did not get support from senior MP Shashi Tharoor, whom Anil had supported while his father was on Mallikarjun Kharge’s side in Congress presidential election, as he found the young leader’s views as “immature”. “The country’s national security and sovereignty are not that fragile. It won’t be affected by a documentary,” Tharoor said.
Also Read: Anil Antony’s views on BBC documentary ‘immature,’ says Tharoor
Youth Congress Kerala Chief and MLA Shafi Parambil said Anil’s resignation was “quite an essential one” and that he should introspect whether he “sincerely carried out” the responsibilities entrusted with him by the party.
While thanking the Kerala party leadership and Tharoor in particular in the letter, Anil said he has his own unique strengths which would have enabled him to contribute effectively to the party in several ways.
“However, by now I have been made well aware that you, your colleagues and the coterie around your 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,” he said in the letters written to department heads in AICC and KPCC.
Though he has not resigned from the primary membership of the party, which he took it in 2017, he said he would prefer to continue his “other professional endeavors without being fed this negativity, and being involved in these destructive narratives, many against the very core interests” of the country. “These I strongly believe will end up in the dustbin of history with time,” he added.
Speaking to reporters here, Anil said he had many reasons to resign but primarily it was the attack on social media by party workers for his comments on the documentary which is critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Claiming that his tweet was “neutral” and “misinterpreted”, he said people started calling him to either retract or change it; he refused to do so.
“After 8 PM, abuses were hurled at me on my Facebook page by many party workers. I have not deleted them. I was disheartened to see the levels to which the party culture has fallen,” Anil said adding, it is difficult for someone with his educational and professional qualifications to function in an environment with such a “poor culture”.