Antony Plain-speak Opens Floodgates in Grand Old Party

The Congress may still be debating senior leader A K Antony’s take on “securalism” or whispering about general secretary Digvijay Singh’s latest controversial remark on Rahul Gandhi’s aversion to power.

Published: 01st July 2014 07:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st July 2014 07:54 AM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI: The Congress may still be debating  senior leader A K Antony’s take on “securalism” or whispering about general secretary Digvijay Singh’s latest controversial remark on Rahul Gandhi’s aversion to power.

The anger in the party, though, is quite palpable. A senior general secretary, who was earlier in-charge of Gujarat, not only backed Antony’s views on secularism but also said, “the NGO style of politics and functioning had alienated the party from the voters”.

The Congress leader, who did not want to be named said, “While people, like Teesta Setalvad, ran a litigation campaign (on the 2002 Gujarat riots) of their own which appeared to be personal vendetta, the Congress got associated with it even though the party had nothing do with her--it alienated the common voters.”

But the protagonist, whose failure to pull off an election victory has prompted all the introspection-- Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi--is away on holiday, catching some football action. Antony himself was quite unruffled after setting the cat among the pigeons.

But another Congress leader of Antony’s vintage was also bristling. “I’ve always maintained that schemes and social welfare programmes targeted at a particular  community was counter-productive and not in conformity with our Constitutional provisions. If there has to be a quota system, it should better be based on the criterion of  economic backwardness,” he asserted.Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed, however, parroted the official line. “The Congress is steadfastly committed to secularism. What Antonyji said was in the context of Kerala,” he said.  But Ahmed was at a loss for words on Digvijay’s remark that Rahul lacked a ruler’s temperament. “We’ve Mallikarjun Kharge as Leader of the Party (in the Lok Sabha), he is senior and doing his job well. This is unnecessary talk,” he said.

He was, obviously, cagey about Rahul’s absence-holiday breaks, just as the party debated over the cause of the debacle. This is the second holiday the Congress V-P has taken since the elections results were out. According to sources in the Ministry of Home, the Congress scion could be in Brazil for the FIFA World Cup.

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