by IANS |
Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 2 (IANS) With the completion of 18,728 days in the Legislative Assembly, 78-year-old Congress leader and two-time Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has emerged as the longest serving MLA in Kerala edging out late K.M.Mani who passed away in 2019.
The record was till now held by Mani, again from the Congress.
Both Mani and Chandy have never lost their sitting seats after they started to contest the polls.
While Mani represented the Pala seat from 1967, Chandy began from 1970 representing the Puthupally constituency, both of which are in Kottayam district.
Had the Assembly been convened in 1965 when Mani won from Pala, Chandy would have had to wait another two years.
In 1965, after the Assembly polls were held since no single party was able to form a government, President's rule was invoked and no one was sworn as an MLA and hence Mani became a legislator only in 1967 for the first time.
Chandy, who turns 79 on October 31, has won every election from 1970 and is now into his 12th successive term and by far he is one of the most popular active politicians in the state.
Due to his pleasing manners, he continues to draw a huge crowd wherever he goes.
His popularity could be seen last Wednesday when he arrived to the State Secretariat- the seat of power.
Generally former chief ministers rarely come to the Secretariat, but Chandy when he was invited for a meeting of all legislators from Kottayam district, he said he will definitely be present to discuss the issues.
That day, traffic near the Secretariat was diverted due to series of protests and Chandy got down from his car and was received by a few office-bearers of the Congress backed Secretariat employees and he started to walk towards the meeting place which was far.
Seeing Chandy walk, people on the roads also joined him and by the time he reached the office entrance, it was a massive crowd.
Security officials had a tough time controlling the crowd.
A video going viral shows how Chandy, who was once known for his fast-paced walk, is now a pale shadow of himself. Braving his failing health, his affable nature and smiling face make him approachable as people still come to him for help and his never fails to oblige.
One of the anecdotes which is often shared by his admirers is when he was the Chief Minister 2011-16, he had gone for an inauguration of a school building in North Kerala.
After the inauguration, while he was walking back to his car, a young school boy called out his name. Hearing his name, Chandy stopped and went near the boy.
The boy said that his friend and classmate wishes to own a house as he doesn't have one.
Chandy agreed to it and got all the details and found out it was a deserving case and included in a government scheme.
Later, when the house was completed, he was only a legislator, but he did visit the house.
Despite facing issues with his voice, Chandy travels all across the state still attracting a huge crowd of fans he has earned over the years.