A. K. Antony

A.K Antony was born in 28 December 1940 into a Syrian Catholic family. He is the son of  Arackaparambil Kurien Pillai and Aleykutty Kurian. He lost his father in 1959 and self-financed part of his education through odd jobs. He completed his Bachelor of Arts from Maharajas College and Bachelor of Law from University of Kerala.

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. He became the youngest president of Kerala Students Union in 1966[12] and also served in the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) before becoming an All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary in 1984. Congress (A) was a political party founded by Antony when he split from the Indian National Congress (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.

On accusations in the Rajan case, K. Karunakaran resigned and Antony was made the 8th Chief Minister of Kerala. Antony thus became the youngest Chief Minister of the state 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 years 22 March 1995 to 9 May 1996. Antony was elected and served the third term from 17 May 2001 to 29 August 2004. 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.

He was a Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha between 1985 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. 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 7 years.

Antony is known for his incorruptible record and simple personal life and his intolerance towards corruption in public life. After Pranab Mukherjee was nominated for 2012 President of India election, A. K. Antony has been placed as the second in command after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the Cabinet of India. He was ranked among top 10 Most Powerful Indians for the year 2012 by the Indian Express.

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