The heart-wrenching news of Oommen Chandy’s demise has sent shockwaves across Kerala. The former chief minister, a distinguished Congress leader, passed away today at the age of 79. It was his son, Chandy Oommen, who shared the devastating news on his Facebook page, simply stating, “Appa has passed away.” The details remain undisclosed, leaving us to grapple with the weight of this loss.
Oommen Chandy had been battling with his health since 2019, and a few months ago, he sought medical treatment in Germany for a severe throat ailment. This ailment only served to exacerbate his already declining condition, leading to this sorrowful outcome.
Describing Chandy as a towering figure in Kerala Congress, his impact on the state cannot be understated. Serving as Chief Minister twice, from 2004 to 2006 and then from 2011 to 2016, he commanded immense respect and admiration. A true mass leader, Chandy’s ability to connect with the people was unparalleled.
For five decades, he faithfully represented the Puthuppally constituency in the Kerala Legislative Assembly. Election after election, he earned the trust of his constituents, solidifying his place in their hearts. His political journey began in the 1970s, and since then, he has been an integral part of the state’s political landscape.
Chandy’s contributions extended beyond his role as Chief Minister. He held various portfolios, including the Minister for Labour in the K Karunakaran and AK Antony Ministries. He was also a significant figure in all three K Karunakaran ministries, leaving an indelible mark on Kerala politics.
Recognizing his influence and experience, Chandy was appointed as AICC general secretary in 2018. Additionally, he served as the opposition leader in the Kerala Assembly from 2006 to 2011, further highlighting his commitment to the welfare of the state and its people. Despite offers to pursue national politics, Chandy preferred to remain rooted in Kerala, dedicated to serving his beloved state.
In August 2022, Chandy achieved a remarkable milestone, becoming the longest-serving member of the state assembly by representing Puthuppally for an astonishing 18,728 days. This feat surpassed the record previously held by the late K M Mani, the revered leader of the Kerala Congress (M).
Today, as we mourn the loss of Oommen Chandy, we reflect on the tremendous impact he had on the political landscape of Kerala. His absence leaves a void that cannot be easily filled. The state has lost a true statesman, a leader of the people, and a compassionate soul. May his legacy endure, and may his soul find eternal peace.