A. K. Antony

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A. K. Antony
എ.കെ. ആന്റണി.jpg
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
(1940-12-28) 28 December 1940 (age 75)
Cherthala, 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
University of Kerala

Arackaparambil Kurien "A. K." Antony (born 28 December 1940) is an Indian politician currently serving as Member of Parliament (MP) from the upper house, Rajya Sabha, of Parliament. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Disciplinary Action Committee of the All India Congress Committee,[1] Congress Working Committee.[2] and member of the Central Election Committee.

He formerly served as Defence Minister of India,[3] and the Chief Minister of the state of Kerala.

Early life and education[edit]

A. K. Antony was born at Cherthala, near Alleppey in Travancore, to a middle class Syrian Christian family[4] as the son of Arackaparambil Kurien Pillai and Aleykutty Kurian.[5] He lost his father in 1959 and self-financed part of his education through odd jobs.[6]

He completed his primary education in 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 University of Kerala.[7]

Political career[edit]

AK Antony with Kerala Council of Ministers in 1977.

A. K. Antony entered into politics as a student leader in Cherthala Taluk (Alleppey District) as an activist of Kerala Students Union (KSU) 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.

Congress Politics and Party Faction[edit]

Congress (A) was a political party founded by Antony 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.

Chief Minister of Kerala[edit]

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 K. 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 Kerala Legislative Assembly during 1996 to 2001. Antony was elected and served the 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 the Chief Minister of Kerala.[9][11] He was succeeded by Oommen Chandy.

It was at his 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 liberalized 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.[4]

Government offices[edit]

Union Minister for Civil Supplies[edit]

He was a Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha between 1993 to 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[edit]

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
Defence Minister AK Antony with Chief of Naval Staff DK Joshi in 2013
Defence Minister AK Antony with Chief of Naval Staff Nirmal Verma in 2012 releasing Manual of Navy's Financial Information System.

In 2005, A. K. 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[edit]

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).

Political party role[edit]

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.[17][18]

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

In the Manmohan Singh Cabinet, Antony was the senior member of the Cabinet Committees on Accommodation, Economic Affairs, Parliamentary Affairs, Political Affairs, and Security.[19]


Civil Services reform[edit]

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.[20][21]

Public image[edit]

Antony is known for his incorruptible record and simple personal life[22][23] and his intolerance towards corruption in public life.[9][11][24][25][26][27][28][29] He has assiduously cultivated a public image that turns his perceived weaknesses into strengths.[30] He was ranked among top 10 Most Powerful Indians for the year 2012 by the Indian Express.[31]

After Pranab Mukherjee was nominated for 2012 President of India election, A. K. Antony was placed as the second in command after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the Cabinet of India.[3][32][33]

He is considered as political guru of Rahul Gandhi.[34]


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

WikiLeaks has also reported that Antony was greatly admired by Rajiv Gandhi and is a popular Congress leader in South India with a reputation for honesty and integrity. [4]

Personal life and beliefs[edit]

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

Antony and his wife Elizabeth, a Kerala High Court lawyer [36] have two sons; Anil Antony, a graduate of Stanford University[37] and Ajith Antony, a graduate of St. Stephen's College, Delhi.[38]

Honours, awards and international recognition[edit]

Year Name Awarding organization Ref.
2008 Malayali of the Year 2007 Award. Asianet. [39]



  1. ^ "AICC Committees - Disciplinary Action Committee of the Indian National Congress Party". Indian National Congress. 14 August 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  2. ^ "Congress Working Committee of the Indian National Congress Party". Indian National Congress. 14 August 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Archive: The Cabinet of India (2012) : The Team of the Prime Minister of India". Prime Minister's Office. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c "AK Antony - Wikileaks". Wikileaks. Retrieved 11 February 2016. 
  5. ^ "Antony pays respects to his mother on her anniversary in 2009". The Hindu. Retrieved 2012-02-19. 
  6. ^ "Know your ministers: A K Antony". The Times of India. Retrieved 2012-02-19. 
  7. ^ "Antony Takes Over as Defence Minister". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 28 November 2012. 
  8. ^ M. A. John, Congress leader, passes away, The Hindu, 23 Feb. 2011.
  9. ^ a b c d e f "Antony: Mr Clean of Indian politics sworn in as Cabinet Minister". Retrieved 2012-02-15. 
  10. ^ "A Hamlet For Delhi: Antony". Outlook (magazine). Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  11. ^ a b c "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" (PDF). Niyamasabha. 26 February 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2011. 
  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 19 May 2012. 
  15. ^ "AK Antony becomes the longest continuously serving Defence Minister". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 19 May 2012. 
  16. ^ RAGHUVANSHI, VIVEK (12 April 2014). "Procurement Problems Await Next Indian Government". www.defensenews.com. Gannett Government Media. Retrieved 12 April 2014. 
  17. ^ "Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India". Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  18. ^ "P Chidambaram, A K Antony & Sharad Pawar get wider EGoM roles after Pranab Mukherjee's exit". The Economic Times. Retrieved 24 July 2012. 
  19. ^ "Composition and Functions of the Federal Cabinet Committees (as on August 8, 2012)" (PDF). Cabinet Secretariat. 8 August 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  20. ^ "Antony’s CCSA plan rattles babus". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2015-08-13. 
  21. ^ "St. Antony’s glasnost move spooks babudom". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2015-08-13. 
  22. ^ "'Mr Clean', Antony Has Been the Trouble Shooter". Outlook (magazine). Retrieved 2012-03-23. 
  23. ^ "Here comes Saint Antony". CNN-IBN. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  24. ^ "‘Saint Antony’ shows his aggressive face". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 13 July 2012. 
  25. ^ "The Gandhians amidst us: AK Antony". Retrieved 2012-02-15. 
  26. ^ "A.K. Antony, Congress". Retrieved 2012-02-15. 
  27. ^ "India's New Defence Minister: The Dilemma of Honesty or Efficiency". Retrieved 2012-02-15. 
  28. ^ "All is not well at South Block, still". Yahoo! News. Retrieved 13 July 2012. 
  29. ^ "For the larger good, let bad blood spill". The Pioneer (Indian newspaper). Retrieved 2012-04-23. 
  30. ^ Paul, Cithara (26 May 2013). "Come 2014, Antony may pip Manmohan in PM race". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 26 May 2013. 
  31. ^ "Top 10: The most powerful Indians in 2012". The Indian Express. Retrieved 2012-02-15. 
  32. ^ "It’s official, Antony is No. 2 in UPA-II". The Indian Express. Retrieved 13 July 2012. 
  33. ^ "Defence Minister A K Antony is number two in government?". The Economic Times. Retrieved 13 July 2012. 
  34. ^ "I consider AK Antony as my guru, says Rahul Gandhi". India Today. Retrieved 11 February 2016. 
  35. ^ "A K Antony refused to support Sanjay Gandhi: WikiLeaks". The Times of India. Retrieved 11 February 2016. 
  36. ^ "Resul Pookutty and Elizabeth Antony enroll as lawyers at Kerala High Court". Archived from the original on 12 May 2012. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  37. ^ "Stanford University Degree Conferral Candidates : 2008‐2009 Winter" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-02-12. 
  38. ^ "Ajith Paul Antony, younger son to debut in films". Retrieved 2012-02-12. 
  39. ^ "Asianet Malayali of the Year 2007 award presented to A.K. Antony". The Hindu. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 

External links[edit]

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