Oommen Chandy

Oommen Chandy

 Oommen Chandy, the former Kerala Chief Minister and one of the greatest leaders of Kerala politics,  passed away on July 18, 2023, at the age of 79. He was a veteran Congress leader, a seasoned statesman, and a devoted public servant who left an indelible mark on the political landscape of Kerala.

Oommen Chandy served two terms as Kerala CM (2004-2006, 2011-2016). He represented Puthuppally constitutency for five decades and became the longest-serving MLA. He was also the only Indian Chief Minister to achieve an award for public service from the United Nations.

Let's look at the life and times of Oommen Chandy for Kerala PSC Exams.

Basic Facts

  • Birth – October 31, 1943.
  • Family – 
    • Parents – K.O. Chandy & Baby Chandy. 
  • Death – July 17, 2023.
  • Full name – Karottu Vallakkalil Oommen Chandy.
  • Became Chief Minister of Kerala twice – 
    1. 10th Chief Minister of Kerala during 2004-2006, 
    2. Chief Minister of Kerala during 2011-2016.
  • The second Congress Chief Minister to complete his term. 
  • The CM with the lowest majority in the history of Kerala.
  • First & Only Chief Minister to receive United Nations Public Service Award (2013).
  • The first Chief Minister from Kerala to attend World Economic Forum (35th) held at Davos, Switzerland, in 2006.
  • The Longest served Member of the Kerala Legislative Assembly  (53 years). 
    •  Represented the Puthuppally constituency continuously for 5 decades (1970, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1987, 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011, 2016 & 2021)
  • The longest-serving MLA of any legislative assembly in India.
  • Minister – 
    • Labour Department (1977-78),
    • Home Department (1982),
    • Finance Department (1991-94).
  • Served as Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee during 1996–98.
  • Served as Leader of Opposition (2006-2011)
  • Served as general secretary of the All India Congress Committee (Andhra Pradesh, 2018)
  • Documentary about Oommen Chandy – Touching the Soul.
  • Books – 
    • Kalam Sakshi (കാലം സാക്ഷി, Autobiography; prepared by Sunnykutty Abraham)
    • Thurannitta Vathil (തുറന്നിട്ട വാതില്‍, Autobiography;  prepared by P.T. Chacko)
    • Changala Orungunnu (ചങ്ങല ഒരുങ്ങുന്നു),
    • Marupadiyillatha Kathukal (മറുപടിയില്ലാത്ത കത്തുകൾ),
    • Orattathinte Dinarathrangal (പോരാട്ടത്തിന്റെ ദിനാരാത്രങ്ങൾ)


Early Life & Education:


Oommen Chandy was born on October 31, 1943, hails from Puthuppally of Kumarakom in Kottayam district of Kerala. 

He pursued his early education in his hometown and later completed his graduation in law from Government Law College, Ernakulam.  

Political Career of Oommen Chandy

Oommen Chandy's political career began during his college days when he became actively involved in the Kerala Students' Union (KSU), the student wing of the INC. He was the President of the Union from 1967 to 1969.

The Orana Samaram of 1958, an agitation against the surge in boat fares for students in Kuttanad, Alappuzha district, became a significant turning point in his political journey as it was led by the Kerala Students Union (KSU).

In 1970, at the young age of 27, Oommen Chandy first contested the assembly elections from the Puthuppally constituency and emerged victorious against E. M. George of CPI(M) for a majority of 7,288 votes. 

This victory laid the foundation for his long and illustrious political career. He then became the State President of the Youth Congress.

After that he went on to represent the Puthuppally constituency in the Kerala Legislative Assembly for an astounding 12 consecutive terms spanning from 1970 to 2021 (including the years 1977, 1980, 1982, 1987, 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011, 2016 & 2021). 

His unwavering dedication and commitment to public service led him to retain this seat throughout his illustrious political career, until the time of his unfortunate demise.

Ministerial Positions


Over the years, Oommen Chandy held various ministerial portfolios in the Kerala government. He served as the Minister for Labour and Forests, Minister for Finance, and Minister for Home Affairs, among others, during different periods of his political career. 


Chief Minister of Kerala

Oommen Chandy served as the Chief Minister of Kerala on two occasions. His first term as CM was from 2004 to 2006, and his second term was from 2011 to 2016.

First Term as Chief Minister (2004-2006)

In 2004, Oommen Chandy assumed the Chief Minister's office for the first time. His tenure was marked by his focus on development and welfare initiatives. 

He introduced policies to strengthen the education and healthcare sectors. Oommen Chandy's government took steps to boost the state's infrastructure and promote tourism, which plays a crucial role in Kerala's economy.

Oommen Chandy's first term as Chief Minister was also notable for his stand on the prohibition of alcohol in Kerala. He implemented several measures to regulate and control the sale and consumption of alcohol in the state.

Janasamparka Paripadi


Oommen Chandy pioneered the "janasamparka paripadi" (mass outreach programme), becoming the first to introduce such an initiative in Kerala. This program was widely praised for its emphasis on reaching out to the masses and establishing a direct connection with the public. 

Oommen Chandy extensively visited different parts of Kerala, interacting directly with the people to resolve their problems. 

Notably, even during his second term as Chief Minister, Chandy continued to carry out this people-centric approach.

His determined efforts during public relations programs, held from 2011 for three years, addressed grievances stuck in bureaucratic red tape. 

He tackled issues like electricity, water, land titles, housing, and healthcare, bringing positive changes to official procedures for better governance. With a meticulous approach, he scrutinized applications, ensuring eligible individuals received timely assistance. 

This people-centric dedication earned him widespread praise as "The People's Chief Minister."

The motto of the First Oommen Chandy Ministry was "Athivegam Bahudooram (അതിവേഗം ബഹുദൂരം)."

Second Term as Chief Minister (2011-2016)

In 2011, the INC-led United Democratic Front (UDF) emerged victorious in the Kerala Assembly elections, and Oommen Chandy returned to the Chief Minister's office for a second term. 

During this tenure, he implemented policies to attract investments and boost the state's economy through some of the Kerala’s biggest infrastructure and development projects including the Kannur International Airport, Kochi Metro, Kochi-Mangalore GAIL pipeline and Kannur Medical College.

The Second Oommen Chandy Ministry adopted the motto "Vikasanavum Karuthalum (വികസനവും കരുതലും)."


Solar Scam Controversy: 

One of the major challenges faced by Oommen Chandy during his second term was the "Solar Scam" controversy. It involved allegations of corruption and fraudulent deals in connection with solar energy projects. 

Though Oommen Chandy denied any personal involvement, his government faced criticism from the opposition and civil society. Despite the controversy, he continued to assert his innocence.

In December 2022, Oommen Chandy was cleared of all charges of sexual abuse by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), in relation to the solar scam case, where Sarita Nair was the main accused.

Electoral Defeat

 In the 2016 Kerala Legislative Assembly elections, Oommen Chandy's government faced a defeat, and the United Democratic Front (UDF) lost power to the Left Democratic Front (LDF). He accepted the defeat gracefully and continued to be an active member of the opposition.

After stepping down as Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy remained actively involved in politics until 2021. He continued to play a significant role in the Kerala Congress and was considered one of the senior leaders in the state.

Oommen Chandy was announced dead in a Bengaluru hospital by his son via a Facebook post at 4:25 am on July 18, 2023, after battling cancer since 2019.

Achievements

    • Kerala Farmer's Pension Fund.
    • Social welfare pensions were doubled.
    • Provided free rice to individuals falling below the Above Poverty Line (APL) category.
    • Sanctioning of Unemployment allowance for every month.
    • Emerging Kerala Summit
    • Started works of  – 
      •  Kochi Metro, 
      • Kochi-Mangalore GAIL pipeline, 
      • Smart City project,
      • Vallarpadam Terminal,
      • Kannur Medical College,
      • Kannur International Airport,
      • Kerala Seaplane Project,
      • Titanium Sponge Plant Project (Kollam)
    • Introduced Schemes such as  – 
      • the motto, 
      • Sutharya Keralam.
      • Karunya Scheme
    • Kannur Municipal Corporation was formed
    • Affordable and cheap international air travel became accessible from all airports in Kerala.
    • Education Sector – 
      • Thunchath Ezhuthachan Malayalam University, Tirur (2012),
      • National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi (2005),
      • APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University, Thiruvananthapuram (2014),
      •  K. R. Narayanan National Institute of Visual Science and Arts, Kottayam (2016)
      • IT was made a compulsory subject for the school going students, making Kerala the first to do so.
      • During Oommen Chandy's tenure as Chief Minister, the government funded pre-degree education, providing financial support and assistance to students pursuing their pre-degree studies
    • Kerala became the first complete digital state of India. 

       

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