Arun Lakshman/ Chennai (IANS)
Newly appointed National secretary of the BJP, Anil Antony speaks about the nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP, the Congress, and the prospects of the party in his home state, Kerala. Son of veteran Congress leader and former Union Defense Minister, AK Antony, Anil is a trained Engineer with a Master’s from the prestigious Stanford University. He speaks to IANS in an interview immediately after being appointed as the National Secretary of the BJP.
1 : Hows your feeling on being appointed as the National Secretary of the BJP?
I joined the BJP, because I was very sure that the BJP is the only national party with a vision and direction to drive the country forward under the leadership of our beloved Prime Minister Narendra Modiji . He has a vision for the country for the next twenty five years. In the nine years under the Prime Ministership of Narendra Modiji, the country has progressed much ahead than the earlier 67 years post Independence put together. India is emerging as a prominent pillar in a multipolar world. He want to push forward the country into a developed nation in its 100th year of independence .I am feeling very humble and honoured that the BJP leadership has shown this much confidence in me and with this new posting that I have a better platform to work towards the PMs vision for India.
Will you be concentrating on Kerala as a BJP leader who is now a national secretary of the party.
I have not yet been assigned any new responsibilities after announcing me as the new National secretary of the party. I lived in Kerala for a significant amount of time during my brining up period. I have a lot of interest to see that the party grows in Kerala. I will definitely be making my efforts to develop the party in the state.
The party has been consistently growing in the state. The vote share was 3 percent and it has increased to 13 to 14 percent now and our alliances is growing in Kerala. Many accomplished citizens and many promising youth have joined the BJP and are still joining. Just like across India , the youth in Kerala are attracted towards the Hon Prime minister’s vision for India. Kerala is a state with lot socio economic gowth. While the median age of the country is 27 ,in Kerala it is 35 and young people are struggling for job opportunities. They are leaving in masses searching for job both outside the country and within India to other states.
India is thriving and moving forward under the leadership of PM modi He has a vision to transform the country by providing economic and social opportunities and young people will definitely resonate with the good governance of Government of India and they want to be part of India’s growth, Just like West Bengal, Tripura and other North Eastern states, the party will grow in Kerala.
There is an exceptional growth. In Kerala also we have 14 and 15 percent vote share and state leadership is strong and central leadership is showing more interest in the state. in 2024 we will definitely win multiple seats and BJP will become a significant political party in the state. I can say that we will have an exceptional growth in Kerala.
It is learned that senior leaders of the BJP will be in fray in 2024 general elections. Are you a candidate?
I joined the party only in April and my first responsibility in the party was announced only yesterday. My only priority is only to work on the responsibility given by me. These are decisions taken by the party leadership and it is the leadership that decide. Everything else are speculations. I wont comment on the seat and other factors that the party leadership has to decide.
You are the son senior Congress leader A.K. Antony’s son. Is that a baggage for you in your future political carrier.
My father was in parliamentary politics for 52 years and has spent more than six decades in party politics. In his parliamentary carrier he was the Chief Minister of Kerala, a Union minister and had handled the crucial defense portfolio. He has generated tremendous good will across political spectrum, across people and among the public. He has now retired from parliamentary politics. The current congress led by Rahul Gandhi and his associates have diverted themselves from what the Congress party used to be. The party is now going in a very very negative tangent where they don’t have any clear vision or direction on how to progress. At the same time we have a Prime Minister who has a vision for twenty five years. Congress is getting alienated from the young and aspirational India and cut off from Young India. The Congress party has changed a lot and is no longer a party where my father and many other stalwarts worked for many many years. My father has tremendous goodwill and I am proud to have a father like him.
Narendra Modi and the BJP is in power for the past nine years. Will the party and Modi get a third tenure in 2024 general elections ?
Definitely Narendra Modi and the BJP will be returning to power after the 2024 general elections. In 2014 and 2019 PM Narendra Modi led the party to back to back victories. Every year the progress of India is exponential and in last nine years it is more. In 2014 end we have 500 startups and now we have over 1 lakh we have more than 115 unicorn, and is the third largest digital economy in the world. This is the exponential growth. As far as Infrastructure is concerned, we had 75 airports in 2014 when Narendra Modi came to power. Now we have 150 airports and in 2030, there will be 400 plus airports. In 2014 highways were built at a speed of 8 to 9 km per day now it is more than 100 km per day.
Lot of this is due to the passion, dedication and vision of the Prime Minister to to take the country forward. There is a great future for the country and the entire government and party machinery have full confidence in this vision and working to ensure that the milestones are met.
The people of India are beneficiaries and their lives are improving better than any time including employment opportunities. We are getting more and more global recognition and we are respected in international forums.
Across international and domestic stages and including grass root levels India story is resonating and because of this people will show confidence. We will come back with a better mandate and margin will be higher than in the 2019 polls. There are 38 allies for the BJP now within NDA and the BJP and party organization is getting bigger.
Manipur is turning into a major crisis. What’s your take on this?
The Manipur issue is very disappointing. However the opposition parties create a narration far removed from realities for their short-term political victories. It is a state where there were frequent clashes between tribes for many historic reasons. If you look at the state of Manipur for the past twenty years, the violence have come down with data that shows that Manipur was getting more peaceful than anytime in the past. For example in 2005,2006,2007 and 2008 an average of 150 people were killed .It has come down to ten or fifteen people in last five years.
Law and order situation has been drastically improving. There are anti India elements inside and outside the country who are trying to flare up the tribal conflict. The opposition is trying to flare this up for their political exigencies. They are trying to create a false narration of a communal war for a tribal conflict. This has been steadily controlled and violence steadily decreasing but anti India forces are trying to unleash violence and the opposition not standing with the people of India and instead of bringing stability to region, they are playing in the hands of anti india forces. India is more secure and stable in the last nine years from Kashmir to North Eastern states.
Every where, we are seeing situations where everything is brought under control through steady intervention. Hon Home minister visited the place multiple times,. But the opposition is creating false narrations to rake up the issue communally and people of India will reject this kind of negativity.