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A. K. Antony
Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha
Assumed office
3 April 2016

In office

In office

In office

In office
Constituency Kerala
Minister of Defence

In office
26 October 2006 – 26 May 2014
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Preceded by Pranab Mukherjee
Succeeded by Arun Jaitley
Chief Minister of Kerala

In office
17 May 2001 – 29 August 2004
Governor Sikander Bakht
T. N. Chaturvedi
R. L. Bhatia
Preceded by E. K. Nayanar
Succeeded by Oommen Chandy

In office
22 March 1995 – 9 May 1996
Governor B. Rachaiah
P. Shiv Shankar
Khurshed Alam Khan
Preceded by K. Karunakaran
Succeeded by E. K. Nayanar

In office
27 April 1977 – 27 October 1978
Governor N. N. Wanchoo
Jyothi Vencatachellum
Preceded by K. Karunakaran
Succeeded by P. K. Vasudevan Nair
Personal details
Born Arackaparambil Kurien Antony
28 December 1940(1940-12-28) (age 82)
Cherthala, Travancore, British India
Nationality Indian
Political party Indian National Congress (Before 1978; 1982–present)
Indian National Congress-Urs (1978–1980)
Indian National Congress-A (1980–1982)
Spouse(s) Elizabeth Antony
Children Anil Antony
Ajith Antony
Alma mater Maharaja's College, Ernakulam
Government Law College, Ernakulam

Arackaparambil Kurien Antony better known as A. K. Antony (born 28 December 1940) is an Indian politician and attorney who currently serves as Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha[1] (Fifth Term), representing the state of Kerala. He also currently serves as the Chairman of the Disciplinary Action Committee of the All India Congress Committee,[2] Congress Working Committee.[3] and member of the Central Election Committee.

He has served two terms as Defence Minister of India,[4] and was appointed three times as Chief Minister of the state of Kerala.

Early life and education

A. K. Antony was born at Cherthala, near Alleppey in Travancore[citation needed] and was the son of Arackaparambil Kurien Pillai and Aleykutty Kurian.[5] His father died in 1959 and Antony self-financed part of his education through odd jobs.[6]

Antony completed his primary education at Holy Family Boys High school (Lower primary) and Government Boys High school (Upper primary), Cherthala (both are mixed higher secondary schools now and the latter has changed its name to Sree Narayana Memorial Government Higher Secondary school) and completed his Bachelor of Arts from Maharaja's College, Ernakulam and Bachelor of Law from Government Law College, Ernakulam.[7]

Political career

Antony entered politics as a student leader in Cherthala Taluk (Alleppey District) as an activist of the Kerala Students Union under the guidance of M. A. John.[8] He has been an active leader of many strikes like Oru Ana Samaram (Single Penny Strike). He became the youngest president[9] of Kerala Students Union in 1966[9] and also served in the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) before becoming an All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary in 1984. When he became KPCC president in 1972 he was the youngest person to hold that post. He was elected again as KPCC president in 1987, and was defeated by Vayalar Ravi in the KPCC presidential elections in 1991.[citation needed]

Congress politics and party faction

Antony founded the Congress (A) political party when he split from the Indian National Congress (Urs), a splinter group of the Indian National Congress (and opposed Indira Gandhi in inner party politics during the time when she was prosecuted by the Morarji Desai government, splitting off from the parent party with Devraj Urs.) The party was primarily active in Kerala and joined the LDF ministry headed by E. K. Nayanar during 1980–1982. After the fall of the Nayanar ministry, this party merged with the Congress in 1982, but Antony was not given any office until the death of Indira Gandhi. The members of the party have continued as a faction in the local congress afterwards.[citation needed]

Chief Minister of Kerala

On accusations in the Rajan case, K. Karunakaran resigned and Antony was made the 8th Chief Minister of Kerala,[10] becoming the youngest Chief Minister of the state[9][11] at the age of 37 serving from years 27 April 1977 to 27 October 1978.

Again, when Karunakaran resigned in connection with the ISRO case Antony was made the 16th Chief Minister of Kerala, serving from 22 March 1995 to 9 May 1996. He was the Leader of Opposition in the Kerala Legislative Assembly between 1996–2001. Antony was elected and served a third term from 17 May 2001 to 29 August 2004. He failed to retain power on the first two occasions as Chief minister. In 2004, immediately after the Congress in Kerala suffered a total rout in the Lok Sabha elections amid factional politics and in-fighting within the Congress Party, Antony resigned as Chief Minister.[9][11] He was succeeded by Oommen Chandy.

It was at Antony's behest that the decision to construct the new Legislature Complex was taken in 1977. During his tenure, he introduced the Unemployment Allowance, Festival Allowance for the State Employees, Prohibition of arrack and the steps initiated to revive the economy of Kerala.[12]

Antony carried out Asian Development Bank aided "Modernization of Government Plan". He also liberalised education by allowing several private engineering and medical colleges to open in Kerala and championed the state as an investment destination. He also ordered the closure of the Kerala Coca-Cola plant in 2004 citing drought and the non-availability of drinking water.[citation needed]

Government offices

Union Minister for Civil Supplies

Antony was a Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha between 1993 and 1995 and was the Minister for Civil Supplies, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution for a year in 1994 during the tenure of Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao. He resigned on moral grounds as food minister in 1994 when his ministry was involved in a sugar import scandal, despite there being no allegations against him.[9][13]

Union Minister for Defence

Defence Minister AK Antony with Chief of Staff of the US Air Force Norton Schwartz presenting a model of the C-130J Super Hercules in 2011

AK Antony with US Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta in 2012

AK Antony with US Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta in 2012
AK Antony with Chief of Naval Staff DK Joshi in 2013
AK Antony accompanied by Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral's Nirmal Verma and DK Joshi.

In 2005, Antony entered the Rajya Sabha and was inducted into the Union Council of Ministers as Defence Minister following Natwar Singh's expulsion from the Congress and Pranab Mukherjee's transfer to the Ministry of External Affairs. After the Congress again won the elections in 2009 and formed the government once again under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Antony retained the portfolio of Defence for the second term becoming the longest-serving Defence Minister of India in a continuous stint for 8 years.[14][15] His "Buy and Make Indian" campaign saw the cancellation of billion of dollars in purchases of foreign arms, while at the same time stunting domestic production by restricting investments. The result has been a "critical shortage of ammunition and gaping holes in its air defense systems".[16]

Other positions

He held the post of Chairman of the Indian Statistical Institute in Kolkata (2012 to 2014), President of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses and Chancellor of Defence Institute of Advanced Technology (2006 to 2014).[citation needed]

Political party role

In the Manmohan Singh Cabinet, Antony was the senior member of the Cabinet Committees on Accommodation, Economic Affairs, Parliamentary Affairs, Political Affairs, and Security.[17]

He is considered as political guru of Rahul Gandhi.[18]

Antony's political skills and long experience in government have also led him to heading a large number of committees of Ministers in the government, a device that has been employed to obtain consensus within the members of the governing coalition on contentious issues.[19][20]

Location of National War Memorial Spectrum Allocation
Reports of Administrative Reforms Commission Gas Pricing and Commercial Utilization
Corruption Ultra Mega Power Projects
Recommendations with regard to Commonwealth Games Mass Rapid Transit System


Civil Services reform

In order to professionalise the Civil Services, Antony led in decision on creation of a Central Civil Services Authority (CCSA) to oversee the higher bureaucracy.[21][22]

Public image

Antony is known for his incorruptible record and simple personal life[23][24] and his intolerance towards corruption in public life.[9][11][25][26][27][28][29][30] He has assiduously cultivated a public image that turns his perceived weaknesses into strengths.[31] He was ranked among top 10 Most Powerful Indians for the year 2012 by the Indian Express.[32]

10th Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee admired Antony[33] for his simplicity, gentleness and his zeal for reforms and change as a way to ensure acceleration of Kerala's all-round development.[33]

After Pranab Mukherjee was nominated for the 2012 President of India election, Antony was placed as the second-in-command after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the Cabinet of India.[4][34]


WikiLeaks reported that Antony was the only one of the two leaders who criticised Sanjay Gandhi during the 1976 AICC session in Guwahati during Emergency when the latter's political standing was on the rise.[35]

Personal life

AK Antony with his family outside a polling station in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala in 2009.

Antony is married to Elizabeth who is a Kerala High Court lawyer[36] and is founder of the Navoothan Charitable Foundation.[37] They have two sons.[38][39]

Honours, awards and international recognition

Year Name Awarding organization Ref.
2008 Malayali of the Year 2007 Award. Asianet. [40]


See also

  • List of Rajya Sabha members from Kerala
  • List of current members of the Rajya Sabha


  1. "Indian National Congress nominates AK Antony for Rajya Sabha election from Kerala". Indian Express Limited. Retrieved 2016-09-12. 
  2. "AICC Committees - Disciplinary Action Committee of the Indian National Congress Party". Indian National Congress. 14 August 2012. Archived from the original on 8 March 2014. Retrieved 2012-08-14. 
  3. "Our Organisation". 2017-05-13. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Archive: The Cabinet of India (2012) : The Team of the Prime Minister of India". Prime Minister's Office. Archived from the original on 29 October 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-29. 
  5. "Antony pays respects to his mother on her anniversary in 2009". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 2012-03-31. Retrieved 2012-02-19. 
  6. "The Times of India on Mobile". 2012-06-26. 
  7. "Antony Takes Over as Defence Minister". Ministry of Defence. Archived from the original on 4 May 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-28. 
  8. M. A. John, Congress leader, passes away, The Hindu, 23 February 2011.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 "Antony: Mr Clean of Indian politics sworn in as Cabinet Minister". Retrieved 2012-02-15. 
  10. "A Hamlet For Delhi: Antony". Outlook. Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 "Brief Profile: AK Antony". CNN-IBN. Retrieved 2012-03-23. 
  12. "Chief Ministers, Ministers and Leaders of Opposition in Kerala: Biographical Sketches and other data". Niyamasabha. 26 February 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-14. 
  13. No allegations against AK Antony in Sugar import scandal: Possible successors to Manmohan Singh CNBC - 27 May 2009
  14. "AK Antony becomes the longest serving Defence Minister of India at a stretch". The Pioneer (Indian newspaper). Retrieved 2012-05-19. 
  15. "AK Antony becomes the longest continuously serving Defence Minister". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2012-05-19. 
  16. RAGHUVANSHI, VIVEK (12 April 2014). "Procurement Problems Await Next Indian Government". Gannett Government Media. Retrieved 2014-04-12. 
  17. "Composition and Functions of the Federal Cabinet Committees (as on August 8, 2012)". Cabinet Secretariat. 8 August 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-14. 
  18. "I consider AK Antony as my guru, says Rahul Gandhi". India Today. Retrieved 2016-02-11. 
  19. "Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India". Retrieved 2012-05-01. 
  20. "P Chidambaram, A K Antony & Sharad Pawar get wider EGoM roles after Pranab Mukherjee's exit". The Economic Times. Retrieved 2012-07-24. 
  21. "Antony’s CCSA plan rattles babus". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2015-08-13. [dead link]
  22. "St. Antony’s glasnost move spooks babudom". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2015-08-13. 
  23. "'Mr Clean', Antony Has Been the Trouble Shooter". Outlook. Retrieved 2012-03-23. [dead link]
  24. "Here comes Saint Antony". CNN-IBN. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  25. "‘Saint Antony’ shows his aggressive face". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 3 November 2013. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  26. "The Gandhians amidst us: AK Antony". Retrieved 2012-02-15. 
  27. "A.K. Antony, Congress".,+Congress/1/43286.htm. Retrieved 2012-02-15. 
  28. "India's New Defence Minister: The Dilemma of Honesty or Efficiency". Retrieved 2012-02-15. 
  29. "All is not well at South Block, still". Yahoo! News. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  30. "For the larger good, let bad blood spill". The Pioneer (Indian newspaper). Retrieved 2012-04-23. 
  31. Paul, Cithara (26 May 2013). "Come 2014, Antony may pip Manmohan in PM race". Retrieved 2013-05-26. 
  32. "Top 10: The most powerful Indians in 2012". The Indian Express. Retrieved 2012-02-15. 
  33. 33.0 33.1 "Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee's Inaugural Speech at the Global Investor Meet". Prime Minister of India, Archived Division. Retrieved 4 April 2017. 
  34. "It’s official, Antony is No. 2 in UPA-II". The Indian Express. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  35. "A K Antony refused to support Sanjay Gandhi: WikiLeaks". The Times of India. Retrieved 2016-02-11. 
  36. "Resul Pookutty and Elizabeth Antony enroll as lawyers at Kerala High Court". Archived from the original on 12 May 2012. Retrieved 2014-02-24. 
  37. "Navoothan Charitable Foundation". Retrieved 22 March 2017. 
  38. "Stanford University Degree Conferral Candidates : 2008‐2009 Winter". Archived from the original on 4 August 2011. Retrieved 2012-02-12. 
  39. "Ajith Paul Antony, younger son to debut in films". Retrieved 2012-02-12. 
  40. "Asianet Malayali of the Year 2007 award presented to A.K. Antony". The Hindu. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 

Books featuring AK Antony and further reading

  • Kurup, G. Radhakrishna (2004). Politics of Congress Factionalism in Kerala Since 1982. Gyan Publishing House. ISBN 9788178352848. 
  • Swarup, Harihar (2010). Power Profiles. Har Anand Publications. ISBN 9788124115251. 
  • Bohlken, Anjali Thomas (2016). Democratization from Above: The Logic of Local Democracy in the Developing World. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107128873. 

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
K. Karunakaran
Chief Minister of Kerala
Succeeded by
P. K. Vasudevan Nair
Chief Minister of Kerala
Succeeded by
E. K. Nayanar
Preceded by
E. K. Nayanar
Chief Minister of Kerala
Succeeded by
Oommen Chandy
Preceded by
Ghulam Nabi Azad
Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution
Succeeded by
Buta Singh
Preceded by
Pranab Mukherjee
Minister of Defence
Succeeded by
Arun Jaitley

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