A. K. Antony
A. K. Antony in 2009
23rd Union Minister of Defence
In office
26 October 2006 – 26 May 2014
Prime MinisterManmohan Singh
Preceded byPranab Mukherjee
Succeeded byArun Jaitley
Chief Minister of Kerala
In office
17 May 2001 – 29 August 2004
GovernorSikander Bakht
T. N. Chaturvedi
R. L. Bhatia
Preceded byE. K. Nayanar
Succeeded byOommen Chandy
In office
22 March 1995 – 9 May 1996
GovernorB. Rachaiah
P. Shiv Shankar
Khurshed Alam Khan
Preceded byK. Karunakaran
Succeeded byE. K. Nayanar
In office
27 April 1977 – 27 October 1978
GovernorN. N. Wanchoo
Jyothi Vencatachellum
Preceded byK. Karunakaran
Succeeded byP. K. Vasudevan Nair
Leader of Opposition in Kerala Legislative Assembly
In office
20 May 1996 – 13 May 2001
Preceded byV. S. Achuthanandan
Succeeded byV. S. Achuthanandan
Union Minister Of Civil Supplies, Consumer Affairs & Public Distribution
In office
18 January 1993 – 8 February 1995
Prime MinisterP. V. Narasimha Rao
Preceded byP. V. Narasimha Rao
Succeeded byButa Singh
Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha
In office
2005–2022
ConstituencyKerala
In office
1985–1995
ConstituencyKerala
Member of the Kerala Legislative Assembly
In office
1996–2005
ConstituencyCherthala
In office
1995 (1995)–1996 (1996)
Constituency Tirurangadi
In office
1977 (1977)–1979 (1979)
Constituency Kazhakootam
In office
1970 (1970)–1977 (1977)
ConstituencyCherthala
Personal details
Born
Arackaparambil Kurien Antony

(1940-12-28) 28 December 1940 (age 83)
Cherthala, Kingdom of Travancore
(present day Alappuzha district, Kerala, India)
Political partyIndian National Congress (Before 1978; 1982–present)
Indian National Congress-Urs (1978–1980)
Indian National Congress-A (1980–1982)
SpouseElizabeth Antony
ChildrenAnil K. Antony
Ajith Antony
Alma materMaharaja's College, Ernakulam
Government Law College, Ernakulam

Arackaparambil Kurien Antony (born 28 December 1940) is an Indian politician and lawyer who served as the Minister of Defence of India from 2006 to 2014. He previously served as the 6th Chief Minister of Kerala from 1977 to 1978, 1995 to 1996 and again from 2001 to 2004.[1] He currently serves as the Chairman of the Disciplinary Action Committee of the All India Congress Committee,[2][3] Congress Working Committee,[4] and member of the Congress Core Group and Central Election Committee.

Antony served as Defence Minister for almost 8 years,[5] making him the longest serving Defence Minister in India.[a][6] He has thrice been the 8th Chief Minister of Kerala and Leader of Opposition once in Kerala Legislative Assembly. He has also served as Treasurer of All India Congress Committee from 1994 to 1995.

Early life and education

A. K. Antony was born to a Latin Catholic family[7] at Cherthala, near Alleppey in Travancore[8] as the son of Arackaparambil Kurien Pillai and Aleykutty Kurian.[9] His father died in 1959 and Antony self-financed part of his education through odd jobs.[10]

Antony completed his primary education at Holy Family Boys High school (Lower primary) and Government Boys High school (Upper primary), Cherthala[b] and completed his Bachelor of Arts from Maharaja's College, Ernakulam and Bachelor of Law from Government Law College, Ernakulam.[11]

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.[12] He has been an active leader of many strikes like Oru Ana Samaram (Single Penny Strike). He became the youngest president[13] of Kerala Students Union in 1966[13] 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]

Election Constituency Result Majority
1970 Cherthala Won 360
1977 Kazhakootam Won 8669
1995 Tirurangadi Won 22269
1996 Cherthala Won 8385
2001 Cherthala Won 6860

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 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, the party merged with the Congress in 1982,[14] 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.[15]

Chief Minister of Kerala

See also: First A. K. Antony ministry, Second A. K. Antony ministry, and Third A. K. Antony ministry

Following accusations in the Rajan case, K. Karunakaran resigned and Antony, the state Congress president was appointed as the sixth Chief Minister of Kerala,[16] on 27th April 1977 becoming the youngest Chief Minister of the state[13][17] at the age of 36. Antony subsequently contested a by-election from Kazhakuttam constituency in Trivandrum as he was not a member of the assembly and won by healthy margin of over 8 thousand votes. However, differences of opinion with Indira Gandhi and Karunakaran, especially over the emergency soon cropped up, leading to a fracture in the state Congress legislature party, with the two factions being led by Antony and Karunakaran respectively. Eventually, exactly one and half years after he had been sworn in as Chief Minister, he resigned from the post as well as the Congress party following its decision to field Indira Gandhi as the candidate in the by-election in Chikmagalur, Karnataka.

Antony had to wait for over 15 years before becoming Chief Minister for a second term; again on the back of Karunakaran's resignation- this time over the controversial ISRO spy case. On 22nd March 1995, after a week long deadlock, Antony was sworn in as Chief Minister, despite stiff opposition from Karunakaran. This term also lasted only one year before the United Democratic Front led by Antony narrowly lost the assembly elections in May 1996. Thereafter, Antony served as Leader of Opposition in the Kerala Legislative Assembly from 1996 to 2001.

In 2001, Antony led the United Democratic Front to a historic victory of 100 seats, with the Congress party winning its largest share of seats in the state assembly. On 17th May 2001, a triumphant Antony was sworn in as Chief Minister; for the first time, he was already serving as an MLA before taking the mantle of Chief Ministership.

However, his third term was extremely rocky and unstable, with Karunakaran refusing to cooperate with him and trying every tactic to overthrow him from office. This led to an erosion of public support as well as credibility. By the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress was a badly divided house and Antony had the disgrace of leading the party to its worst electoral performance since 1967. The final nail on the coffin was the defeat of K. Muraleedharan, the Electricity Minister in Antony's cabinet (incidentally Karunakaran's son) in the Wadakkanchery by-election, a seat widely perceived to be a Congress bastion. with his back on the wall, Antony had no option but to resign as Chief Minister.[13][17] He was succeeded by his close confidante, 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.[18] Several initiatives were taken in the fields of Higher education, science & technology, Biotechnology (including the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology at Thiruvananthapuram), and Information technology, under his ministries.[19]

Chief Minister of Kerala A.K Antony with Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on June 2004

It was also under his rule that the Kannur University was inaugurated by bifurcating the University of Calicut. The University of Sanskrit was founded in 1994.[20] The Indian Institute of Management and the National Institute of Technology at Kozhikode were established in the years 1996 and 2002 respectively.[21] The Akshaya project was implemented in 2002 by providing E-literacy to the people those who haven't it and opening Akshaya centres in the remote rural areas of the state, thus ensuring Internet availability all over the state, aiming to make Kerala the first complete E-literate state of India.[22] Several initiatives were taken in the fields of Higher education, science & technology, Biotechnology, and Information technology, under his ministries.[19] The Infopark at Kochi was established in the year 2004.[23] The IT@school project and introduction of Information Technology in school level were initiated in 2001 by Third Antony ministry, making Kerala the first Indian state to do so.[24]

Antony carried out Asian Development Bank aided "Modernisation 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.[citation needed] He also ordered the closure of the Kerala Coca-Cola plant in 2004 citing drought and the non-availability of drinking water.[25]

Government offices

AK Antony presenting a copy of 'Sainik Samachar' to Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh to mark the centenary celebrations of the Armed Forces' journal 'Sainik Samachar', in New Delhi in 2009

Union Minister for Civil Supplies

See also: Rao ministry

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.[13][26]

Union Minister for Defence

See also: First ministry of Manmohan Singh and Second ministry of Manmohan Singh

Main article: Indian MRCA competition

Defence Minister A. K. Antony with 19th Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force Norton Schwartz presenting a model of the C-130J Super Hercules in 2011
A. K. Antony with 23rd United States Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in 2012
AK Antony with service Chiefs, General V.K. Singh, Admiral Nirmal Verma and Air Chief Marshal P. V. Naik at the Amar Jawan Jyoti to mark Vijay Diwas, 39th anniversary of the victory day of the 1971 India-Pakistan war in New Delhi in 2010

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.[27][6] 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.[28]

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.[29]

He is considered as political guru of Rahul Gandhi.[30]

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.[31][32]

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

Issues

Civil Services reform

In order to professionalise the Civil Services, Antony led the decision on creation of a Central Civil Services Authority (CCSA) to oversee the higher bureaucracy.[33][34]

Impeachment of Chief Justice of India

Main article: 2018 Supreme Court of India crisis

In 2018, Antony is one of the signatories[35][36] to impeachment notice against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

Public image

Antony is known for his incorruptible record and simple personal life[37][38] and his intolerance towards corruption in public life.[13][17][39][40][41][42][43][44][45] He was ranked among the top 10 Most Powerful Indians for the year 2012 by The Indian Express.[46]

10th Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee admired Antony[47] for his simplicity, gentleness and his zeal for reforms and change as a way to ensure acceleration of Kerala's all-round development.[47]

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.[5][48]

Leaked diplomatic cables

Leaked diplomatic cables said Antony was one of the only two leaders, the other being P. R. Dasmunsi, who criticised Sanjay Gandhi during the 1976 AICC session in Guwahati during Emergency when the latter's political standing was on the rise, asking "what sacrifices he has made for the party or the country".[49]

Personal life

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

Antony is an atheist.[50] and is married to Elizabeth who is a Kerala High Court lawyer[51] and is the founder of the Navoothan Charitable Foundation.[52] They have two sons.[53][54] In April 2023, his son Anil Antony joined the Bharatiya Janata Party.[55]

Honours, awards and international recognition

Year Name Awarding organisation Ref.
2008 Malayali of the Year 2007 Award. Asianet. [56]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Indian National Congress nominates AK Antony for Rajya Sabha election from Kerala". Indian Express Limited. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
  2. ^ "Congress asks members to not make comments inconsistent with party stand". Indian Express Limited. 27 July 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
  3. ^ "Antony to head Cong's Disciplinary Action Committee". Zee News. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
  4. ^ "Our Organisation". 13 May 2017. Archived from the original on 13 May 2017. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Archive: The Cabinet of India (2012) : The Team of the Prime Minister of India". Prime Minister's Office. Archived from the original on 19 September 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2012.
  6. ^ a b "AK Antony becomes the longest continuously serving Defence Minister". The New Indian Express. Archived from the original on 13 April 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  7. ^ "Know your ministers: A.K. Antony". Archived from the original on 8 November 2021. Retrieved 8 November 2022.
  8. ^ "AK Antony". www.mapsofindia.com. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  9. ^ "Antony pays respects to his mother on her anniversary in 2009". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 31 March 2012. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
  10. ^ "The Times of India on Mobile". The Times of India. 26 June 2012. Archived from the original on 26 June 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  11. ^ "Antony Takes Over as Defence Minister". Ministry of Defence. Archived from the original on 4 May 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2012.
  12. ^ M. A. John, Congress leader, passes away, The Hindu, 23 February 2011.
  13. ^ a b c d e f "Antony: Mr Clean of Indian politics sworn in as Cabinet Minister". Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  14. ^ "Congress(I) leader Karunakaran sworn in as Kerala CM". India Today. 9 October 2013. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  15. ^ "Cong factions deny seeking Antony's removal". The Times of India. 12 December 2003. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  16. ^ "A Hamlet For Delhi: Antony". Outlook. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
  17. ^ a b c "Brief Profile: AK Antony". CNN-IBN. Archived from the original on 29 March 2014. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
  18. ^ "Chief Ministers, Ministers and Leaders of Opposition in Kerala: Biographical Sketches and other data" (PDF). Niyamasabha. 26 February 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
  19. ^ a b Chief Ministers, Ministers, and Leaders of Opposition of Kerala (PDF). Thiruvananthapuram: Secratriat of Kerala Legislature. 2018. p. 24.
  20. ^ Madampat, Shajahan (11 April 2019). "The importance of IUML". The Indian Express. Archived from the original on 12 June 2020. Retrieved 12 June 2020.
  21. ^ "IIMK - Growth History". iimk.ac.in. Archived from the original on 2 January 2021. Retrieved 20 May 2021.
  22. ^ "The first E-literate district of India". The Times of India. 18 August 2004. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  23. ^ "Kochi to turn into a job park". The New Indian Express. 19 January 2017.
  24. ^ "Kerala's 'IT@school' project now a government company 'KITE', CM Vijayan launches logo". The Indian Express. 7 August 2017.
  25. ^ Konikkara, Aathira. "Nearly 15 years after Coca Cola plant shut down, Plachimada's fight for Rs 216 crore in compensation continues". The Caravan. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  26. ^ No allegations against AK Antony in Sugar import scandal: Possible successors to Manmohan Singh CNBC – 27 May 2009
  27. ^ "AK Antony becomes the longest serving Defence Minister of India at a stretch". The Pioneer. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  28. ^ Joshi, Manoj (14 May 2013). "India's defence needs FDI". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  29. ^ "Composition and Functions of the Federal Cabinet Committees (as on August 8, 2012)" (PDF). Cabinet Secretariat. 8 August 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
  30. ^ "I consider AK Antony as my guru, says Rahul Gandhi". India Today. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  31. ^ "Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India". Retrieved 1 May 2012.
  32. ^ "P Chidambaram, A K Antony & Sharad Pawar get wider EGoM roles after Pranab Mukherjee's exit". The Economic Times. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  33. ^ "Antony's CCSA plan rattles babus". The New Indian Express. Archived from the original on 31 January 2013. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  34. ^ "St. Antony's glasnost move spooks babudom". The New Indian Express. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  35. ^ "Impeachment: The Pawar Factor". Rediffmail. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  36. ^ "Manmohan, Chidambaram not among signatories to impeachment notice against CJI". Business Standard. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  37. ^ "'Mr Clean', Antony Has Been the Trouble Shooter". Outlook. Archived from the original on 31 January 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
  38. ^ "Here comes Saint Antony". CNN-IBN. Archived from the original on 30 March 2012. Retrieved 28 March 2012.
  39. ^ "'Saint Antony' shows his aggressive face". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 3 November 2013. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  40. ^ "The Gandhians amidst us: AK Antony". Archived from the original on 15 June 2012. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  41. ^ "A.K. Antony, Congress". Retrieved 15 February 2012.[permanent dead link]
  42. ^ "India's New Defence Minister: The Dilemma of Honesty or Efficiency". Archived from the original on 11 May 2012. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  43. ^ "All is not well at South Block, still". Yahoo! News. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  44. ^ "For the larger good, let bad blood spill". The Pioneer. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
  45. ^ Paul, Cithara (26 May 2013). "Come 2014, Antony may pip Manmohan in PM race". The New Indian Express. Archived from the original on 6 July 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
  46. ^ "Top 10: The most powerful Indians in 2012". The Indian Express. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  47. ^ a b "Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee's Inaugural Speech at the Global Investor Meet". Prime Minister of India, Archived Division. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  48. ^ "It's official, Antony is No. 2 in UPA-II". The Indian Express. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  49. ^ "A K Antony refused to support Sanjay Gandhi: WikiLeaks". The Times of India. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  50. ^ Balslev, Anindita N. (2013). On India: Self-image and Counter-image. SAGE Publications India, 2013. ISBN 9788132116592.
  51. ^ "Resul Pookutty and Elizabeth Antony enroll as lawyers at Kerala High Court". Archived from the original on 12 May 2012. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  52. ^ "Navoothan Charitable Foundation". Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  53. ^ "Stanford University Degree Conferral Candidates : 2008‐2009 Winter" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 August 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
  54. ^ "Ajith Paul Antony, younger son to debut in films". Retrieved 12 February 2012.
  55. ^ "Anil Antony, Congress Veteran AK Antony's Son, Joins BJP". NDTV.com. Retrieved 6 April 2023.
  56. ^ "Asianet Malayali of the Year 2007 award presented to A.K. Antony". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 13 February 2008. Retrieved 28 March 2012.

Notes

  1. ^ AK Antony served as Dence Minister of India from year 2006 to year 2014.
  2. ^ Both are mixed higher secondary schools now and the latter has changed its name to Sree Narayana Memorial Government Higher Secondary school

Books featuring AK Antony and further reading

Rajya Sabha Preceded byN/A Member of Parliamentfor Rajya Sabha (Kerala) 1985 to 1991 Succeeded byN/A Preceded byN/A Member of Parliamentfor Rajya Sabha (Kerala) 1991 to 1995 Succeeded byN/A Preceded byN/A Member of Parliamentfor Rajya Sabha (Kerala) 2005 to 2010 Succeeded byN/A Preceded byN/A Member of Parliamentfor Rajya Sabha (Kerala) 2010 to 2016 Succeeded byN/A Preceded byN/A Member of Parliamentfor Rajya Sabha (Kerala) April 2016 to Incumbent Succeeded byN/A Political offices Preceded byK. Karunakaran Chief Minister of Kerala 1977–1978 Succeeded byP. K. Vasudevan Nair Chief Minister of Kerala 1995–1996 Succeeded byE. K. Nayanar Preceded byE. K. Nayanar Chief Minister of Kerala 2001–2004 Succeeded byOommen Chandy Preceded byGhulam Nabi Azad Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution 1993-1995 Succeeded byButa Singh Preceded byPranab Mukherjee Minister of Defence 2006–2014 Succeeded byArun Jaitley Educational offices Preceded byPranab Mukherjee Chairman of Indian Statistical Institute 2012 to 2014 Succeeded byArun Shourie