Thiruvananthapuram, October 2 (IANS)| Veteran Congress leader A.K. Antony, considered close to the Gandhi family, has been criticized by party workers in Kerala after he and his son came out in support of different candidates in the party’s presidential election.
While Antony extended his support to Mallikarjun Kharge, his son Anil Antony openly threw his weight behind Shashi Tharoor.
A former Congress state unit functionary told IANS that Antony has supported Kharge, “The Gandhi family had nominated him as their candidate for the President’s post. However, it is a million dollar question that Anil Antony asked for. Why are you supporting Tharoor. There are two reasons – either Anil openly defied his father or his support to Tharoor was after a tacit understanding with his father.”
In politics for the last few years, Anil Antony has been in charge of the state unit Social Media Cell and then the National Social Media Cell.
Many Congress workers in Kerala felt that whatever the outcome, it was a silent step in the right direction. While the senior Antony is close to the Gandhi family, and has openly offered his allegiance to Kharge, he wants the son to support Tharoor.
A Congress worker from Thiruvananthapuram told IANS that Antony “has given his son consent to support Tharoor as he wants to ensure that whoever wins, has his say in the party. Want to project an image among the people that he is a highly democratic man who has no issues even if his son is on the other side. This could be a beautiful excuse for him even if the son later quits the Congress. Decide.
However, he added that this does not mean that Anil Antony is switching sides, but added that Antony was trying to ensure that he would not put any pressure on his son in taking political decisions.
Almost all senior Congress leaders have extended their support to Kharge and his victory is almost certain.
In such a situation, Anil Antony’s support for Tharoor could be a smart political move, say political observers.