Senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister of Kerala Oommen Chandy died in Bengaluru in the early hours of Tuesday. His son took to social media to say "Appa has passed away".
79-year-old Chandy, who served as the Chief Minister of Kerala twice, had not been keeping well and was availing medical treatment in Bengaluru for the last few months. "He was a champion of development, democracy and secularism. He inspired generations of young leaders with his dedication and charisma," Kerala Congress said in a tweet.
We mourn the loss of former Kerala CM and Congress stalwart Shri Oommen Chandy.— Indian Youth Congress (@IYC) July 18, 2023
He was a champion of development, democracy and secularism.
He inspired generations of young leaders with his dedication and charisma.
We pray for his soul and his bereaved family. #OommenChandypic.twitter.com/dVTNHtNp1D
The Kerala government declared two days of mourning for Oommen Chandy's death and announced that Tuesday will be a public holiday in the state. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan expressed deep grief over the death of the former chief minister. "We were elected to the Legislative Assembly in the same year. It was at the same stage that we came to the political fore through student life. We led public life at the same time and it is extremely difficult to bid him farewell. Oommen Chandy was a capable administrator and a person who was closely involved in people's lives.," he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi recalled various interactions with Oommen, particularly when they both served as Chief Ministers of their respective states. "In the passing away of Shri Oommen Chandy Ji, we have lost a humble and dedicated leader who devoted his life to public service and worked towards the progress of Kerala," he tweeted.
In the passing away of Shri Oommen Chandy Ji, we have lost a humble and dedicated leader who devoted his life to public service and worked towards the progress of Kerala. I recall my various interactions with him, particularly when we both served as Chief Ministers of our… pic.twitter.com/S6rd22T24j— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 18, 2023
Who was Oommen Chandy?
Oommen Chandy served as the Chief Minister of Kerala from 2004-06 and 2011-16. He began his stint as a legislator at the age of 27 and went on to winning the state assembly elections in 1970. He had won 11 consecutive polls since then.
Chandy represented his home constituency Puthupally in the last five decades. He also holds the record of serving as an MLA in the Kerala Assembly for the most number of days - 18,728. He served as a cabinet minister four times and held portfolios Home and Finance in coalition governments headed by the Congress.
Following the news of his demise, senior Congress leaders who are in Bengaluru for the opposition meet, including Rahul and Sonia Gandhi, will visit the hospital.