Anil vs Antony: Son must lose in Pathanamthitta, says Cong veteran

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AK Antony; Anil Antony. File Photo: Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram/Pathanamthitta: Congress stalwart and former Kerala chief minister A K Antony on Tuesday said that his son Anil K Antony, who is contesting as the NDA candidate in Pathanamthitta Lok Sabha constituency, should lose the upcoming election.

“He should lose,” Antony said during a press conference at the Congress office in Thiruvananthapuram. “Should lose,” he repeated after a pause. He was responding to a question on whether he wished to see his son win the elections. “Congress is my religion,” the former Defence Minister and Congress Working Committee member said.

Antony’s public snub invited a sharp response from Anil who said that he had only sympathy for the “outdated” Congress leaders who keep supporting the Nehru-Gandhi family.

Ever since BJP declared Anil as the candidate in Pathanamthitta, questions were raised as to whether Antony would campaign against his son. Anil is taking on three-time Congress MP Anto Antony in Pathanamthitta and CPM veteran Thomas Isaac.

At Tuesday’s press conference, the first at the Congress office since he sifted back to Thiruvananthapuram two years ago, Antony made it clear that he would not go to Pathanamthitta for electioneering. He cited health reasons.

“Anto will win by a bigger margin even without me campaigning there. BJP's golden age in Kerala is over. They polled a lot of votes in 2019 in the wake of the Sabarimala issue. This time they will go to third position in all seats,” the Congress leader said.

Asked if it wasn’t an ‘irony’ that the children of senior Congress leaders are in BJP, this is what Antony said: “It’s not just an irony, it's wrong. Don't make me say a lot about children. I haven't learned that language.” Recently, former Congress chief minister K Kaunakaran’s daughter Padmaja Venugopal had also joined the BJP.

Antony said he convened the press meet as he wanted to play whatever little role he had to play in the ‘do or die’ battle for the Congress.

Won’t affect my chances: Anil
Reacting to Antony’s remarks, Anil said they won’t affect his chances in Pathanamthitta. "I will win and anti-national Anto will lose. The Congress is an anti-national party in which some outdated leaders with outdated ideas work only for the family of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. He (Antony) is a former defence minister. I feel sad seeing him speak for an anti-national MP like Anto Antony who insulted the Indian Army and was trying to whitewash Pakistan's terror activities. Outdated leaders of Congress who work only for the family of Rahul and Sonia will keep barking like the dog howls at the moon,” Anil said.

During his campaign, Congress candidate Anto had said that Indian soldiers were sacrificed in Pulwama to win the 2019 polls.

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