Veteran Congress leader Antony bids adieu to parliamentary politics, returns to Kerala today

AK Antony
AK Antony

New Delhi: Senior Congress leader and former Defence Minister A K Antony will leave Delhi for Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday noon. Though he will be working in the State capital, the former chief minister will not be involved in parliamentary politics.

Antony invited the media to his official residence at No 2, Jantar Mantar Road on Wednesday for an informal meet before leaving Delhi, where he had spent 38 years in the Rajya Sabha.

Despite having a busy schedule he stuck to his routine on Wednesday. Yoga, walking on the treadmill and reading the newspapers went on as usual. He had met Sonia Gandhi and other leaders on Wednesday to bid farewell.

While recalling his political journey, Antony's eyes welled up a few times. He repeatedly thanked the people and the Gandhi family for presenting him opportunities that took him to greater heights which had never even dreamt of. A young Antony had once been apprehensive of whether he could continue his studies.

"There no one else who had such opportunities like me. No one has asked me to quit (active politics). I am heeding to my inner voice and withdrawing myself," the veteran Congress leader said.

Antony reiterated that he would not be involved in active politics. "Every man would slow down as he ages," the senior leader said, adding that he does not wish to continue in the party's working committee.

Though shifting to Thiruvananthapuram, Antony would continue in all party positions, including the Congress Working Committee.

"I will be working based in Thiruvananthapuram, and I will have a room in Indira Bhavan to meet the people as long as the party permits. There won't be any move from my party that would create a headache for the party. I will decide on my future course after discussing it with my party colleagues," the chairman of AICC's disciplinary committee said.

He was reminded that he would be returning to a Kerala without K Karunakaran. "Despite having differences of opinion, both of us stood together for the party," Antony said.

"Karunakaran was an excellent leader. The void created by his demise will be felt by all in the party," he added.

Antony said his banning arrack in Kerala was a decision in the right direction. "The LDF government that came to power later prover it was right," he said with confidence. The A K Antony-led UDF government had banned arrack in Kerala in April, 1996.

To a question on his son debuting in politics, Antony said all his family members are free to make their own decision.

Antony will be accompanied by wife Elizabeth and elder son Ajith, while his second son, Anil Antony, will continue in Delhi. Anil is part of AICC's IT cell.

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