Cong distances itself from Antony's remark

A day after veteran BJP leader L K Advani praised A K Antony for admitting the Congress’s slant towards minorities, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) on Monday appeared to distance itself from the former defence minister’s remark.

AICC General Secretary Shakeel Ahmed rejected suggestions that Congress party’s commitment to secularism was questionable and asserted that Antony’s remarks were limited to politics in Kerala.

“Antony’s statement is in the context of Kerala and Kerala only. The remarks were well intentioned and welcomed in Kerala,” he said.

Interestingly, it was Ahmed who had said on Saturday that the remarks would be discussed in detail within the party forum.

Antony’s remarks in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday on some sections of society having an impression on Congress’s inclination towards the minority communities had brought in the public domain the debate that has been going on in within the party rank and file for quite some time.

There are two clear groups within the party – one which is in favour of soft Hindutva and the other insisting on the current emphasis on secularism.

AICC Secretary Anil Shastri rejected the contention that the Congress was appeasing minorities.

“All four Muslim CMs i.e. Antulay, Barkatullah, Gaffoor & Taimur (Assam) were appointed by Indiraji. After that it's been a full stop for 30 yrs,” Shastri said on Twitter.

“Incidentally, Congress has not given even one Muslim CM after Indira Gandhi,” he added.

Incidentally, the Maharashtra government had announced reservation for Marathas and Muslims last week, ahead of the Assembly elections in October.

There is also some disquiet in the Congress on the quota decision taken by Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, who is becoming increasingly unpopular with the party rank and file.

“You cater to populism when you have little to show on governance,” a senior Congress leader said.

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