Kottayam: Around 6 pm on Saturday, A K Antony was warning the people of Puthuppally of the dangers awaiting the country if the BJP retains power at the Centre in 2024 too. Some 15 km away, at Kooroppada, his son Anil Antony was busy convincing the people why Narendra Modi should stay in power for another term.
Saturday was a rare occasion when both the Antonys touched the campaign ground in bypoll-bound Puthuppally – a largely rural assembly constituency in Kerala’s Kottayam – though they represent ideologies poles apart.
Antony, a Congress Working Committee member, attended his first election rally for the bypoll at Puthuppally before moving to Ayarkunnam for the next event. Meanwhile, Anil, who was recently appointed a national secretary of the BJP, had a busy day touring the constituency and meeting people. Anil joined the BJP in April after severing his ties with the Congress wherein he was in charge of digital media.
At his Puthuppally rally, Antony largely attacked his bete noire CPM, urging the people’s court of Puthuppally to punish the Marxist party for insulting Oommen Chandy when he was alive.
The former defence minister also shared his fears of the consequences of BJP retaining power and explained why it was important for opposition parties to come together and form the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA). “If Narendra Modi comes to power in 2024 also, the constitution of the country will be buried. Plurality of the country will be in peril,” he said.
Anil, needless to say, doesn’t share Antony’s fears. His electioneering in Puthuppally involved creating awareness among the people about the welfare schemes of the Modi government and enlightening them about the benefits of BJP winning elections.
His day started with visiting prominent voters of Vellur area. By noon, he accompanied his party candidate Lijin Lal to a garment unit at Vellur. The evening he spent mostly at Kooroppada visiting shops and prominent people. There he attended an outreach session with the voters and a meeting of pro-BJP families.
Anil did not mention the 2024 general elections in his addresses. Earlier in the day, he said he had no plan to meet his father at Puthuppally. He said he came to work for BJP and the party had already fixed his day’s schedule.
Antony, in his only public statement on Anil’s decision to join BJP, had criticised his son and made it clear that he would not make any comment on the matter again.