Antony touches raw ‘secular’ nerve, says Cong’s ‘proximity to minority communities’ leads to ‘doubt’

Antony said that his party’s apparent proximity to minority communities had led people to doubt its secularism.

Written by Shaju Philip , Manoj C G | Thiruvananthapuram | Updated: June 28, 2014 8:03 am
Antony said that his party’s apparent proximity to minority communities had led people to doubt its secularism. Antony said that his party’s apparent proximity to minority communities had led people to doubt its secularism.

Veteran Congress leader A K Antony said on Friday that his party’s apparent proximity to minority communities had led people to doubt its secularism.

“Some sections of society have an impression that the party is inclined to certain communities or organisations. Congress policy is equal justice to everyone. But people have doubt whether that policy is being implemented or not,” Antony said at a party function to commemorate the late C K Govindan Nair in Thiruvananthapuram.

“This doubt is created by the party’s proximity towards minority communities, and such a situation would open the door for the entry of communal forces into Kerala,” Antony said.

The reticent former defence minister’s statement is hugely significant because he is seen as the conscience keeper of the Congress, and one of the key figures in the party’s decision-making apparatus.

He is known for his loyality to the Nehru-Gandhi family, and has been entrusted by Sonia Gandhi with the task of carrying out an analysis of the Congress’s massive election defeat. Antony has been meeting top leaders from states to understand the reasons for the debacle, and to suggest the way ahead.

Antony said the growth of communal parties in Kerala, where secularism has a strong base, should be attributed to the weakening of the Congress’s secular position. The notion that certain sections get special consideration in the government or the party should be corrected. A situation should not be created in which anyone feels that the party or the government is for someone else, Antony said.

Congress legislator T N Prathapan said Antony was in the habit of speaking candidly. “Antony has a feeling that certain forces are trying to weaken the Congress’s secular base. His comments should be seen in the backdrop of the scenario in Kerala,” Prathapan said.

The prominence of the regional Christian party Kerala Congress and Indian Union Muslim League in governance has created the impression that the Congress government in Kerala is run by minority communities. Two years ago, a major controversy erupted after the IUML got a fifth cabinet berth after bargaining hard.

As chief minister in 2003, Antony had lashed at Muslims, saying they were powerfully organized, and had secured privileges by collective bargaining. This could not be allowed, he had said then.

The soft-spoken Antony is held in high regard by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi. Antony headed the panels set up to decide on alliances and draft the party’s election manifesto. Following the elevation of Pranab Mukherjee as President, Antony emerged as the key figure whom Sonia consulted on matters of both policy and organisation.

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  1. A
    Amit Rivonkar
    Jun 30, 2014 at 10:30 am
    Are Hindus still in majority in Kerala? I don't think so. If you add muslims and christians in Kerala, I think they outnumber Hindus.
    1. B
      B.F.M.Abdul Rahman
      Jun 30, 2014 at 5:16 am
      A government should stand for the poor, and not for majority or minoriy. The summary dismissal of the Congress party by the electorate is the result of the hardships caused to the poor by corruption in high places and an unbearable price rise. When will Congress realize this?
      1. D
        Dr KB
        Jun 28, 2014 at 8:45 am
        What will they get from discussing with Congress leaders about the national defeat in the elections. They should get around and talk to the people on the streets...that is the best way...this is again an eye wash...and is definitely not going to benefit the Congress is another proof that they are away from ground reality...
        1. G
          Jun 28, 2014 at 5:32 am
          Congress is not a political party but the fiefdom of the world's most corrupt and communal dynasty.It defines Secularism to mean Anti-Hindu and the majority community,divided on caste basis as it has been is undergoing a revival and will not take insults and abuse lying down.
          1. J
            Jul 1, 2014 at 5:41 am
            But most of congress candidates were Hindus that's why they got 12 seats
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