The Antony Report Is on Congress’s Reading List; Now if Only Someone Could Find It

edited by: Pathikrit Sen Gupta

Last Update: December 29, 2022, 16:43 IST

After one of the worst Lok Sabha election results in 2014, Sonia Gandhi constituted a committee headed by AK Antony to find out the reasons for the defeat.  File Photo/ANI

After one of the worst Lok Sabha election results in 2014, Sonia Gandhi constituted a committee headed by AK Antony to find out the reasons for the defeat. File Photo/ANI

Antony’s report cited several reasons for the party’s defeat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, but the most important was that the battle was between ‘communalism and secularism’. This hurt the Congress, which was perceived to be pro-minority, resulting in electoral gains for the BJP.

AK Antony’s remarks that the Hindu vote mattered and could do the trick for the Congress in 2024 led to a frantic search known as the Antony Committee Report. After one of the worst Lok Sabha election results in 2014, Sonia Gandhi constituted a committee headed by AK Antony to find out the reasons for the defeat.

Antony’s report was submitted to Sonia Gandhi in late 2014 and has been gathering dust ever since. In fact, if you visit the Congress headquarters, one does not know where the copy of the report is. A senior leader who was an aide of AK Antony in the UPA government said, ‘I don’t think the report has come now. None of us have gone back to read it.”

So why this search for the Antony Committee report? This is simply because what AK Antony has said recently is in his 2014 report. The Congress has since lost another Lok Sabha election and has also lost several state elections. The party faces a dismal attendance with little optimism for the future.

Antony’s report cited several reasons for the party’s defeat, but the most important was that the 2014 battle was between “communalism and secularism”. This hurt the Congress, which was considered pro-minority, resulting in electoral gains for the BJP. “The minority appeasement policy of the party was counterproductive. The frequent statements by some Congress leaders on the Muslim quota have angered and alienated the majority community. Not only this, the report also said that the Congress has lost the support of the minorities due to constant contradictions.

This report was dug up just before 2019, and the series of temple runs and attempts to project a Hindu face of the Congress were based on it. The party refused to get dragged into any debate or narrative that would polarize and hurt it even more. In fact, during the last Lok Sabha elections and state elections, the party ensured that Rahul Gandhi, who was the main face of the Congress, visited temples. Rahul has repeatedly talked about Hindutva and his vision of Hinduism, which he said is real and not like the BJP which is “divisive” in nature. But in the postmortem of the 2019 results, these public statements and narratives trapped the Congress. He said, ‘How can anyone compete with the pictures of ‘PM in Kedarnath’? how can we do it? We end up looking like a pale copy of the BJP, which doesn’t impress anyone, said a leader.

At the Bharat Jodo Yatra, Rahul Gandhi Being introduced as an ascetic (ascetic). The Congress may be calling the yatra apolitical, but this image of Rahul Gandhi as an ascetic on a mission will add to the Hindutva pitch for 2024.

Rahul Gandhi once described AK Antony as his guru in politics. Antony may have retired from Delhi politics, but his report is back now. The question is – will it work? And how many in Congress will read this?

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