reported by, Neethu Reghukumar
Last Update: July 21, 2023, 09:07 AM IST
Former Chief Minister of Kerala Oommen Chandy enjoyed huge popularity and love among the people and his funeral procession took 28 hours to cover a distance of 150 km from Thiruvananthapuram to Kottayam which usually takes around 3.5 to 4 hours.
From the time the funeral procession started from “Puthupalli House”, queues formed at his residence in Thiruvananthapuram and hundreds of people gathered to pay their last respects.
At times, the vehicle carrying his mortal remains could not move as hundreds of elders, women and children waited to pay their last respects and mourn the death of their beloved leader.
Despite the rain, the crowd refused to disperse and thousands waited patiently to catch a last glimpse of their beloved Oman. Everyone who attended the funeral had only praise on their faces as the children held posters that read, “We love you Appacha, and we will miss you.”
His followers, numbering in thousands, raised slogans to bid farewell to their favorite leader who spent his life among and for the people.
“Kanne Karale Kunjunje” (Which means our eye and heart “Kunjunju”) “Aaru Paranju Marichennu, Jeevikunnu Najangalilude” (Who said you’re dead, you live through us, through our memories) and “A thousand kisses for you Oommen Chandy,” echoed the voices as Chandy left for the heavenly abode
As the funeral procession neared Kottayam, people were seen running away from the vehicle carrying his mortal remains.
Former CM of Kerala, Oommen Chandy was one such person who used to work for more than 19-20 hours. To communicate with the public, his public outreach programs used to start at 9 in the morning and continued till the second day.
Those who know Oommen Chandy know that he was a man who was accessible to the masses despite being in power.
During his tenure, the official residence of the chief minister was open to all who wished to meet their leader and discuss their problems. He was never seen alone as he always lived among people.
When asked, Oommen Chandy always said that he gets energy from people. He never liked being alone and Kerala made sure that he was not alone even during his last journey.
The love and respect that Chandy received was unparalleled and the presence of his political rivals, who were struggling to hold back their tears, was a testimony to it.
Kerala Assembly Speaker AN Shamseer said it was a great loss for Kerala and remembered how Chandy always greeted him with a smile even after his harshest criticism in the state assembly.
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan also came to pay his last respects and broke down in tears while speaking about Chandy.
Talking about his political career, he was the MLA of Puthupalli for 53 years. He was first elected in 1970.
Reportedly, the central leadership of the Congress called him Dehi several times but Chandy always said that he wanted to work in Kerala.
Chandy’s death leaves a void that the Congress cannot fill in Kerala.
“My father said that he is a common man, lives like one and does not want state honours. It was his wish,” Chandy’s son said.
Oommen Chandy was buried at Puthupalli Church around midnight on Friday.