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Anil Antony, Congress Veteran Leader AK Antony's Son, Joins BJP

Anil Antony, the son of Congress leader and former Union Minister AK Antony, joined the BJP today.

Anil Antony, who was a Congress leader from Kerala, quit the party in January following the row over BBC's documentary on the 2002 Gujarat riots and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

BJP leaders Piyush Goyal and V Murlidharan and the party's Kerala unit chief K Surendran welcomed the former Congress leader to their party at a formal event today.

"Every Congress worker believes they are working for a family. But I believe I am working for the country," Anil Antony told reporters today. "Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a very clear vision of putting India in a leading place in a multi-polar world," he said.

Anil Antony ran the Congress's social media cell in Kerala before he left the party. He called the BBC documentary "prejudiced against India" before leaving the party. The Congress had cited the documentary to attack PM Modi, accusing him of orchestrating moves to shrink the opposition's space in Indian politics.

"Anil Antony is a multi-faceted personality. I was very impressed when I saw the credentials of Anil Antony ji," BJP leader Piyush Goyal told reporters today.

"His views reflect similar with those of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on sustainable development," Mr Goyal added. "We have confidence he will continue to play a very active role and help grow the BJP's footprint in southern India," he said.

Anil Antony joining the BJP comes as a setback for the Congress as his father is a party veteran and loyalist who has also been the Defence Minister. The Congress said Anil Antony has betrayed his father, calling it a "day of betrayal".

At the formal event to join BJP, Anil Antony said he believes he has taken a right step.

"This is not about personalities, this is about difference of opinion and ideas. I strongly believe that I have taken the right step. My respect for my father will remain the same," he said when reporters asked if he had consulted his father before making the move.

The BJP expects Anil Antony would be able to expand its presence in Kerala and gather support from a larger voter base, especially Christians. The BJP has not been able to breach the Left citadel in Kerala effectively yet to threaten them significantly.


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