Oommen Chandy, former Chief Minister of Kerala and a member of the Congress Working Committee, passed away at the age of 79 in a Bengaluru hospital on Tuesday (July 18) morning.
Chandy's son, Chandy Oommen, a Congress leader, announced his father's death in a Facebook post at 4.30 am.
Oommen Chandy had been undergoing cancer treatment since 2019.
In response to the news, the Kerala Government has declared a two-day mourning period and a public holiday in the state on Tuesday.
The mortal remains of Oommen Chandy will be transported to Thiruvananthapuram. His body will be first kept at the Congress State Committee office and later at the Darbar hall of the Secretariat for the public to pay their respects.
The funeral will take place on Thursday (July 20) in Puthuppally, Kottayam.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan acknowledged Oommen Chandy's capabilities as an administrator and his close involvement in the lives of the people, as reported by ANI.
Reflecting on their shared journey, the Kerala CM mentioned that both he and Chandy Oommen were elected to the Legislative Assembly in the same year. They entered the political arena through their student lives and led public lives simultaneously.
The chief minister expressed the difficulty in bidding farewell to his colleague.
Kerala Congress President K Sudhakaran expressed his condolences for the loss of Chandy Oommen. Sudhakaran described him as a legend who touched the lives of countless individuals.
Notably, Oommen Chandy was very popular as a political leader in Kerala, known for his ability to attract crowds. He held the position of the state's chief minister from 2011 to 2016 and from 2004 to 2006.
He also served as the Opposition leader in the Kerala Assembly from 2006 to 2011.
The longest-serving legislator in the Kerala Assembly, Chandy was known for his mass leadership and his close connection with the people. He represented the Puthuppally Assembly constituency from 1970 until his death, a remarkable achievement in state politics.
At the young age of 27, Chandy was elected from Puthuppally in the 1970 Assembly election.
In the 2021 Assembly elections, Chandy secured his 12th consecutive win from the same seat.
Throughout his political career, he also served in four Congress cabinets, working under leaders such as K Karunakaran and A K Antony. Chandy held important portfolios including labour, finance, and home.
Born on October 31, 1943, in Puthuppally, Chandy was a key figure in Congress politics in Central Kerala. He first entered politics through the Kerala Students Union, the student wing of the Congress party.
After graduating in law, Chandy quickly rose through the ranks of the Youth Congress in Kerala and became the state president in 1969.
During his second term as Kerala's chief minister, Chandy initiated a mass contact program aimed at directly meeting people, listening to their grievances, and providing them with necessary relief. This unique democratic experiment received widespread praise as the chief minister personally interacted with thousands of individuals without the need for intermediaries.
In 2013, the program was honored with the United Nations Global Award for Public Service.
Oommen Chandy is survived by his wife Mariamma and their three children - Maria Oommen, Chandy Oommen, and Achu Oommen.
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