Stepping onto the dynamic stage of Kerala’s politics, Oommen Chandy emerged as a formidable force, captivating the hearts and minds of the people with his unwavering dedication and indomitable spirit. With an illustrious career spanning decade, Chandy’s name became synonymous with leadership and excellence. He held the esteemed position of Chief Minister of Kerala and commanded the position for two significant terms, leading the state from 2004 to 2006 and subsequently from 2011 to 2016.
Yet, it was not only in power that Chandy thrived, his strategic prowess and unyielding determination also propelled him to the forefront of opposition, fearlessly challenging the status quo. Let us dive into the captivating journey of this Influential figure, whose name reverberates in Kerala’s political history.
Here are some lesser knowns facts about Oommen Chandy:
Chandy’s political journey commenced with his involvement in the Kerala Students Union (KSU), where he held the esteemed position of president from 1967 to 1969. In the 1970s, he embarked on his formal political career by being elected as a Member of the Kerala Legislative Assembly (MLA) for the first time. Notably, Chandy represented the Puthuppally constituency an impressive 11 consecutive times, solidifying his strong and enduring presence in the political landscape.
Chief Minister, Chandy dedicated his efforts to driving numerous development initiatives in Kerala, with a special emphasis on sectors such as education and healthcare. Under his leadership, the government implemented a range of infrastructure projects that significantly contributed to the state’s progress. Notable accomplishments included the establishment of the Kannur International Airport, Trivandrum International Airport, Vallarpadam Transshipment Terminal, Vizhinjam Port, Smart City, Metro Rail, Kerala State Transport Project, Sabarimala Master Plan, and Capital City Development. These transformative endeavors served to enhance connectivity, facilitate economic growth, and improve the overall quality of life for the people of Kerala.
Chandy’s reputation as a skilled politician was founded on his astute political acumen and adeptness in navigating the complexities of coalition politics. As the leader of the United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kerala, he played a vital role in managing alliances and fostering stability within the coalition. Moreover, Chandy was widely recognized as a leader who prioritized the welfare of the people, consistently maintaining a direct and approachable stance when it came to addressing public grievances. This people-friendly approach during his tenure as Chief Minister resonated with the public and further solidified his reputation as a leader who genuinely cared for the concerns and needs of the citizens.
Oommen Chandy’s exemplary contributions in public service were internationally recognized when he received the prestigious 2013 United Nations Public Service Award for the Asia-Pacific region. Specifically acknowledged in the category of “Preventing and Combating Corruption in the Public Service,” Chandy’s dedication and efforts were lauded during the award ceremony held on 27 June 2013 in Manama, Bahrain. The honor was presented by Wu Hongbo, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs.
In an insightful conversation with filmmaker Sathyan Anthikad, Chandy humbly expressed his belief that the people themselves were his greatest sources of knowledge, as he valued the opportunity to learn from individuals from all walks of life, regardless of their social standing.