KOTTAYAM: Former Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy passed away at a hospital in Bengaluru in the wee hours of Tuesday. He was 79. Chandy was under treatment for cancer in the hospital. The mortal remains will be brought to the state capital on Tuesday. A public holiday has been declared in the state as a mark of respect to the departed leader.
Oommen Chandy, OC for some and ‘Kunjoonju’ for others, is arguably the only legislator and chief minister from Kerala who widely travelled across the state.As a legislator, he made the maximum use of the public transport system. Only when he became the CM and later due to old age issues, he cut down the dependence on the public transport systems.
Despite his health issues, he travelled across the state as part of election campaign in the last assembly polls and spared very little time for campaigning in his constituency Puthuppally where he recorded a 12th consecutive victory. Chandy has been winning the elections from here ever since 1970.Chandy became the chief minister for the first time in 2004. He became the CM again on 2011. He served as minister for Labour from 1977 to 1978 and minister for home from 1981 to 1982. He was minister for finance from 1991 to 1994.
Popular CM
Though UDF came to power with a wafer thin majority in 2011, his 100 days programmes announced propelled the state fast forward. 107 programmes were announced as part of the 100 days programme of the government.
Out of this, the government could accomplish a whopping figure of 101 leaving just six of the programmes unfinished. This really gave a boost to the governance. The policies adopted by Oommen Chandy helped to bridge the gap between people and officials.
UNDP appreciated Chandy for the range of innovative practices in democratic governance, initiated by the government in strengthening people’s access and participation in human development and governance. They were impressed by the innovative approach to ensure transparency and accountability in governance, particularly the web-streaming of the entire functioning of CM’s office.
The Mass Contact Programme introduced by Chandy, in many ways, is the first of its kind to ensure the right to direct access to leaders and senior civil servants of the government.
Puthuppally’s Kunjoonju
Chandy named his residence in Thiruvananthapuram ‘Puthuppally’ and stayed with wife Mariamma Oommen. He would visit his ancestral home Karottu-Vallakkalil in Puthuppally constituency on Saturday night and leave on Sunday night. This had been his schedule which he never broke ever since he had shifted to Thiruvananthapuram. It was his weekly durbar at Puthuppally that served as a prototype for the mass contact programme kicked off by him.
Hundreds of people line up at his home in Puthuppally from Saturday night to meet him and the crowd would be there till he leaves. Interestingly, the two-time CM never used a mobile phone and used the phones of those around him as well as his security officials to make phone calls. Those who wanted to contact him when he was on the move, had to call his security officials or personal assistants.
Unique style
The slogans “Athivegam bahudooram” and “Vikasanavum Karuthalaum” coined during his tenure sums up his style of administration. Though age and health issues had caught up with him in recent times, Chandy continued to be the most popular Congress leader in the state who maintains good relations with socio-political-cultural-religious leaders in the state.
Oommen Chandy or ‘Kunjoonju’ was born on October 31, 1943 to K O Chandy and Baby Chandy in a Syrian Christian family at Kumarakom in Kottayam district. Chandy entered active politics through KSU, the students’ wing of the Congress. He was the unit president of KSU at St George High School, Puthupally, and went on to become the state president of the organization in 1967 replacing A K Antony. He was elected as the president of the State Youth Congress in 1970.
He completed his college from CMS College, Kottayam and SB College, Changanassery. He completed his LLB from Law College, Ernakulam.
October 31, 1943: Born to Baby Chandy and K O Chandy in Kumarakom
1962-63: KSU Kottayam district secretary
1965: KSU state general secretary
1967: KSU state president
1969: Youth Congress state president
1970: First win from Puthuppally at the age of 27.
1977-78: Labour minister at the age of 33
1982: Home minister
1982-85: UDF convenor
1991-1994: Finance minister
1994: Resigns as finance minister over differences with the chief minister K Karunakaran.
2001-2004: UDF convenor
August 31, 2004: Becomes the 19th chief minister of Kerala
2006-2011: Opposition leader
May 18, 2011: Becomes chief minister for a second time
August 9, 2011: After the court ordered Vigilance probe against Chandy in the Palmolein case, he handed over the charge of the vigilance department to Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan.
April 12, 2012: Following a reshuffle of the portfolios of Congress ministers, Chandy handed over the charge of the Home department also to Thiruvanchoor.
June 27, 2013: Received the United Nations Public Service Award from the Asia-Pacific region, for the category “Preventing and Combating Corruption in the Public Service.”
June 28, 2013: His former personal assistant arrested in the solar scam
August 13, 2013: Chandy announces judicial probe on Solar scam.
October 11, 2013: High Court gives clean chit for Chandy in Solar case.
October 27, 2013: Stone pelted at Chandy during a LDF protest in Kannur.
January 24, 2021: Solar case probe handed over to CBI.
March 25, 2021: The special investigation team appointed by the government says no evidence against Chandy in the sexual assault case in connection with the Solar scam.
January 24, 2022: Court ordered former chief minister and CPM leader V S Achuthanandan to pay ₹10.10 lakh to Oommen Chandy, former CM and senior Congress leader, in a defamation suit filed in connection with the solar scam case.
December 28, 2022: CBI gives clean chit for Oommen Chandy in the sexual harassment case linked to Solar scam.

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