As LS polls loom, candidates of political parties flock to Cong stalwart Chandy’s tomb

Thiruvananthapuram, March 13 (IANS) As the Lok Sabha polls loom large, leaders of many political parties in Kerala are flocking to the tomb of late Congress leader Oommen Chandy, to ‘seek’ his blessings.

This is the first Lok Sabha election in five decades where the charismatic leader will be missing and his absence is being felt by many.

The two-time former Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy, passed away last year and on July 20 his body was interned at his home parish, the St George Orthodox Church, Puthuppally, in Kottayam District. Since then, every day people from far and wide come in large numbers to pay their respects at his tomb, which remains bedecked with flowers, months after his passing away.

Now, with the Lok Sabha polls around the corner, several candidates of the Congress and friendly parties, come and stand with folded hands at the tomb of the late leader, seemingly seeking his blessings.

The list of people spotted at the tomb so far includes Congress candidates Kodikunnil Suresh (Mavelikara), Shafi Parambil (Badagara), Anto Antony (Pathanamthitta) and the Kerala Congress party nominee for the Kottayam Lok Sabh seat, Francis George.

Recalling his long association with former CM Chandy, seven-time Lok Sabha member Kodikunnil Suresh said, “Way back in 1989, when I contested for the first time, it was Chandy who went with me to Kottarakara and asked the then topmost leader in the constituency, R Balakrishna Pillai to ensure my victory.”

Shafi Parambil who is a sitting legislator from Palakkad, began his election campaign at the Badagara Lok Sabha constituency after praying at ex-CM Chandy’s tomb.

With tears in his eyes he said, “Chandy sir was with me all through my career and when I got different posts. This is the first time he is not with me.”

Another surprise personality spotted at the tomb of the late Oommen Chandy was Bharath Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) chief Tushar Vellapally, who is an ally of the BJP-led NDA.

Tushar Vellapally said late leader Chandy was always a person for whom he had the highest regard and hence he decided to visit his grave.

The BDJS has been allotted four seats by the BJP and they have announced two candidates so far. In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Tushar Vellapally had contested as the NDA candidate against senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi at Wayanad and he came a distant third.

The coming days will see more candidates from all political parties coming to pay their respects at ex-CM Chandy’s tomb, as he was a much-loved leader because of his kind nature.

That late Oommen Chandy was a legend in the state was apparent by the fact that lakhs of people came to pay their last respect to him when he passed away and till date seek solace at his tomb.



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