Kerala Governor, filmstars among thousands pay tribute to departed Oommen Chandy in Kottayam

01:52 PM Jul 20, 2023 | Team Udayavani |

Thousands, including Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, movie stars Mammootty, Suresh Gopi and Dileep along with senior politicians cutting across party lines, paid tribute to former Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy after his mortal remains reached Kottayam on Thursday.


After paying tribute to Chandy, the Governor also spent a few moments with his family members.

The police and Seva Dal workers of Congress as well as its leaders could barely control the sea of people who vied with each other to get a final glimpse of Chandy, who died in Bengaluru on Tuesday.

Besides the thousands inside the Thirunakkara Ground in Kottayam where his body was kept on display, an equal number were outside its gates — braving rains — waiting to bid him farewell, forcing the police, Seva Dal workers and Congress leaders to quickly move along the long line of people by giving them just a brief glance of their beloved leader.

People offered flowers, wreaths, prayers and even cried as they got one last glimpse of Chandy.


The organisers were forced to hurry along with the paying of tributes by the public due to the more than 24 hour long delay in the hearse carrying his remains reaching Kottayam, the stronghold of the Congress stalwart, which had unravelled their entire schedule for keeping the body for display and the subsequent funeral.

The police also announced that everyone would get an opportunity to see the departed leader in order to control the massive crowd.

According to the initial schedule, the body was to be kept on public display on Wednesday and as a result thousands were waiting there since then till today morning for his remains to arrive.

Amidst the emotionally charged environment, Congress workers and supporters kept shouting slogans like ”he (Chandy) has not died, he lives in us”, ”there is no other like him” and ”we have no other leader”.

After the people pay their last respects, the body would be taken to his home in Puthuppally.

He will be later buried in a specially prepared tomb adjacent to departed priests of his village church, bringing to an end an era in Kerala politics.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi would be attending Chandy’s funeral, according to a tweet by AICC general secretary K C Venugopal.

The burial would be a simple one without any state honours in accordance with the wish of the late Congress leader.

Nevertheless, being buried in the exclusive priests’ burial area inside the church premises, instead of his family vault in the cemetery, is an honour in itself.

He is being accorded the honour as a mark of respect by the authorities of the St George Orthodox Church at Puthuppally considering the immense contributions made by Chandy to the parish and to the church for decades.

As per common practice, the mortal remains of ordinary believers are buried in the cemetery and those of priests in an exclusive area located north or south of the church.

Chandy’s last journey had begun on Wednesday morning at around 7.20 am from the state capital Thiruvananthapuram where he had spent a major chunk of his life during his decades long political career as a legislator, leader of the Congress party and chief minister.

However, the massive crowd of mourners who thronged the route taken by the hearse, considerably slowed down the nearly 150 kilometre long journey.

A distance that would normally have been covered in three to four hours, took more than 27 hours as the progress of the specially modified low-floor bus carrying his remains was hindered at several places along the route by the large number of people who had gathered to see Chandy one last time.

When it reached the District Congress Committee (DCC) office in Kodimatha, the bus could barely inch forward through the uncontrollable sea of people who gathered all around it to pay tributes.

Chandy, who served as the chief minister of Kerala twice, breathed his last in a private hospital in Bengaluru on Tuesday at 4.25 am. His end came while undergoing treatment for cancer, party sources said. He was 79.


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