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A senior Congress politician, Arackaparambil Kurien Antony was the Union defence minister in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. Previously, he had been a three-time chief minister of Kerala and a member of the Congress Working Committee.
At the age of 37, he became the youngest CM of Kerala in 1977 when he replaced Congress leader Karunakaran. Again, in 1995, he replaced K Karunakaran to become the chief minister of Kerala. An important leader from the state, Antony continues to be active and influential in state and national politics even now.
A lawyer by profession, Antony has represented Cherthala, Kazhakkuttom and Thirurangadi in different terms in the Kerala Legislative Assembly. He has been a member of the Rajya Sabha over three tenures (1985-91, 1991-95, 2005-present).
Antony joined the Manmohan Singh government as defence minister in October, 2006, and served in that position as the longest-serving defence minister until leaving office in May 2014.
After the Congress’ poor performance in 2014 elections, Antony surprised everyone when he pointed to the party’s perception troubles. He said that the party was seen as a party of minorities and people had lost faith in the secular credentials of the Congress.
After the elevation of former finance minister Pranab Mukherjee as the President of India in 2012, Antony became the second most senior member of the Cabinet after Prime Minister Manmohan SIngh.
Antony also serves as a member on the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways.