Union Defence Minister A.K. Antony has bemoaned the increasing incidence of political intolerance among parties and leaders which is vitiating the political atmosphere in the country.
Inaugurating a meeting got up here on Tuesday on the occasion of former Union Minister of State for Railways and Bharatiya Janata Party leader O. Rajagopal completing 50 years of public life, Mr. Antony said that in a world thriving on electronic and social media, political leaders should show restraint in their utterances. ‘‘Some of them seem to cross the limits. This is not good for society and the political life in the country,’’ he added.
Lamenting the sharp fall in political dignity and standards of late, Mr. Antony said the mutual respect among leaders of various political ideologies and shades of the past was missing now. This is not good for democracy.
Even while propagating their respective ideologies and opposing the political ideals and policies of their adversaries, parties and leaders should be courteous. ‘‘Political fights should not become personal fights abusing one another,’’ Mr. Antony said adding that the political standards and friendship among political adversaries that prevailed in Kerala sometime back are getting eroded. Political rivals should not be treated as enemies as they also work towards achieving the goal of people’s welfare as well as of the nation’s, he said.
Mr. Antony said that as Union Minister of State for Railways, Mr. Rajagopal had done justice to Kerala. The developments that he brought in on the railway front in the State are next only to Congress stalwart Panampilly Govinda Menon’s achievements. (Panampilly was Union Railway Minister for a short stint during 1969-1970.)
Mr. Antony, a Congress Working Committee member, said his friendship with Mr. Rajagopal started in 1964 when he became president of the Kerala Students Union. It is getting stronger and stronger because of the simplicity, large-heartedness, and integrity of Mr. Rajagopal.