KPCC digital media convener Anil Antony resigned from his post on January 25, a day after stating on Twitter that giving importance to BBC’s documentary will undermine the country’s sovereignty.

AK Antony's son Anil Antony PC/Twitter
news Politics Wednesday, January 25, 2023 - 16:07

Former Defence Minister AK Antony is known for his subtle, but deep thinking political moves that seldom failed to achieve targets. A three-time Chief Minister of Kerala, Antony's political grooming happened at the feeder organizations of the Congress —  the Youth Congress and Kerala Students Union.

Antony's political achievements were also a result of his eye for spotting trouble. He was an active part of the Congress Kerala unit when the groupism was at its peak. His son Anil Antony who resigned as the Convener of Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee's (KPCC) digital media, however, is not a seasoned politician. His decision to quit the post leaves little impact on the party in the state.

Anil Antony stepped down a day after he tweeted against the BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's role in the 2002 Gujarat riots, titled India: The Modi Question.

A tech entrepreneur and policy commentator, Anil Antony on Tuesday said on Twitter said that "Despite large differences with BJP, I think those in India placing views of BBC, a British state sponsored channel with a long history of Indian prejudices and of Jack Straw, the brain behind the Iraq war, over Indian institutions is setting a dangerous precedence, will undermine our sovereignty”.

After his tweet created a stir in the Congress camp and generated widespread criticism he tweeted again on Wednesday, January 25, to announce his resignation from the post of KPCC’s digital media convener. “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,” he said, adding a redacted version of his resignation letter.

In his resignation letter, Anil Antony thanked Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor. “I would like to thank everyone, especially the Kerala state leadership, and Dr Shashi Tharoor, along with countless party workers, who had wholeheartedly supported and guided me at various times, during my brief period here,” the letter said. His detractors pointed out that despite being the convener of digital media Anil Antony never made an effort to project Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo yatra, considered to be the most impactful, pan-Indian political event of the Congress in recent times.

“Let aside the fact that Anil Antony is not a prominent figure. He was appointed in the IT wing because he is the son of AK Antony. Also, since the IT wing was a fresh idea back then, there were not many experienced people in the party. He might have not thought about the consequences when he made the comment (about the documentary on twitter). He is not politically astute to foresee the backlash,” a party leader told TNM.

The leader added that Anil had to quit because independent opinion was not something that had to be expressed when he was working for the party’s digital media cell. “Now he is free to make independent comments. Training should be given for people, even if they are children of party leaders when they are assigned to such posts,” said the leader, adding that only people with a level of political awareness should be hired for sensitive posts.

“The IT cell has a crucial role in effectively presenting the party narrative well and we have to be aware how the BJP’s IT cell is doing that. The IT cell has to project party leaders with equal importance. Look at Jairam Ramesh (Congress Communications head), how unrelentingly he works for the party using social media?” the leader asked.

Youth Congress state president Shafi Parambil in response to Anil Antony’s comment on the documentary said that they are very clear about it. “Gujarat riots was state sponsored terrorism. We had opposed it back then and are opposing it even now. The Youth Congress has no ambiguity about it," Shafi, MLA representing Palakkad, told the media on Tuesday.

Speaking to TNM, Shafi said that the resignation of Anil Antony was a necessity as his remarks did not reflect the party’s feelings. “Whatl he said was totally his personal opinion.That cannot be connected to the party or its state unit’s opinion in any way. His remarks are also against the Congress’s stand in the past as well as at the present. His resignation was an ideological necessity as he did not communicate the party ideology and it had little impact on the party, “ Shafi said.

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