Indian community in Qatar fondly recollected Oommen Chandy, the former chief minister of the state of Kerala who passed away Tuesday and paid rich tributes to the mass leader.
Chandy passed away early morning Tuesday at a private hospital in Bengaluru, India. Battling cancer, he was undergoing treatment for several months in India and abroad. The 79 old Chandy served as the 10th Chief Minister of Kerala from 2004 to 2006 and again from 2011 to 2016. He was also the Leader of the Opposition in the Kerala Legislative Assembly from 2006 to 2011.
Several community members in Qatar had very close association with him and many of them had very personal interactions with him for a very long time. A man of the masses and cutting across the political affiliations, Chandy commanded great respect and deep affection from the community at large. People used to crowd his house and office for their personal and community needs.
During his second stint as CM, Chandy had launched a mass contact programme to meet people and hear their grievances and ensure relief to them. The programme received the United Nations Global Award for Public Service in 2013.
Chandy also holds the record for the longest-serving MLA in the Kerala assembly having represented his home constituency Puthuppally continuously for 53 years.
Former Indian ambassador, Sanjiv Arrora recalled his association with Chandy and said that it was a great loss for the community and the country. “ Oommen Chandy was was a stalwart and popular leader. I recall meeting him several times and was touched by his simplicity and warmth.”
Dr Mohan Thomas noted that he had about 55 years of acquaintance with Chandy and a very close brotherly relationship. “He was a leader committed for the betterment of the common man. He used to keenly listen to each and every person and made sure that all their grievances or needs are taken care of. His commitment as well as dedication for the welfare of the people, makes him quite unique,” said, Dr Thomas.
Former president of Indian Cultural Centre, P N Baburajan pointed out that Chandy was well respected across all sections of the community for his sincerity and dedication. “With his efficiency in administration, he was able to face the challenges with great conviction and courage. He was also very keen about the welfare of the Indians working in various countries and attended to their needs without any discrimination,” added, Baburajan.