Former Congress leader AK Antony’s son Anil resigned from all his party posts on Wednesday, angered by “calls intolerance” and “abuse” 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 saying that despite disagreements with the BJP, those who support the views of the British broadcaster and of former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, the “brains behind the war in Iraq”, beyond Indian institutions set a dangerous precedent.
Also read: Threats received via tweet on BBC’s Modi documentary, says Anil Antony after leaving Congress
The tweet sparked an avalanche of criticism from social media congressional staff, prompting 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 posted a “redacted version” of the letter on Twitter.
I have resigned from my roles in @incindia @INC Kerala.Intolerant calls to retract a tweet, by those fighting for freedom of speech. I refused. @facebook wall of hate/abuse by those who support a trek to promote love! Hypocrisy, your name is! Life goes on. Below is a redacted letter of resignation. pic.twitter.com/0i8QpNIoXW
— Anil K Antony (@anilkantony) January 25, 2023
“Intolerant calls to retract a tweet, by those who fight for freedom of speech. I refused. Facebook wall of hate/abuse by those who support a trek to promote love! Hypocrisy, your name is! Life continues…,” Anil tweeted with an “redacted version” of the letter. He said he believed it would be appropriate for him to leave all of his positions in Congress given Tuesday’s events.
His father AK Antony did not comment on Anil’s action when approached by the media in Kerala, saying journalists should be wise not to seek comments when he attended a wedding party.
However, he did not receive support from senior MP Shashi Tharoor, who had supported Anil while his father sided with Mallikarjun Kharge in the Congress presidential elections, as he considered the young leader’s views to be “immature”. “The national security and sovereignty of the country are not that fragile. It will not be affected by a documentary,” Tharoor said.
Also read: Anil Antony’s view of BBC documentary ‘immature’, says Tharoor
Kerala youth congress head and MLA Shafi Parambil said Anil’s resignation was “quite essential” and he should look into whether he was “sincerely fulfilling” the responsibilities entrusted to him by the party.
While thanking the party leadership of Kerala and Tharoor in particular in the letter, Anil said that he has his own unique strengths which would have enabled him to contribute effectively to the party in various ways.
“But by now I have been well informed that you, your colleagues, and the coterie around your leadership are only happy to work with a bunch of sycophants and chamchas, who will no doubt be at your beck and call. This has become the solitary criterion of merit. Unfortunately, we don’t have much in common,” he said in the letters to AICC and KPCC heads of department.
While he has not resigned from the party’s primary membership, which he accepted in 2017, he said he would rather 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. “I strongly believe that with time these will end up in the dustbin of history,” he added.
Speaking to reporters here, Anil said he had many reasons to resign, but primarily it was the social media attack by party workers over his comments on the documentary critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He claimed his tweet was “neutral” and “misinterpreted”, saying people started calling him to retract or change it; he refused to do so.
“After 8pm, swear words were hurled at me on my Facebook page by many party workers. I did not delete them. I was disheartened when I saw the level the party culture had fallen to,” Anil said, adding. with his educational and professional qualifications to function in an environment with such a “poor culture”.