THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The corner office room at the MN Smarakam comes across as a spartan and spotless affair. No surprises there, though. But this particular Communist office room describes the sort of leader CK Chandrappan, the CPM state secretary who died here on Thursday, was.
Although he was State party chief, soft-spoken Chandrappan did not forget to keep a table and chair beside his own for the use of his predecessor. As one party worker said, he was the leader, true, but he was also a leader who had his feet planted firmly on earth.
On Thursday afternoon, before the mortal remains of Chandrappan were brought to the party’s State HQ, the predecessor in question, Veliyam Bhargavan, walked into the room to have a look. "Chandrappan was close to the hearts of the people,’’ Veliyam told reporters who approached him.
After the news broke on Thursday morning that Chandrappan, the CPI State secretary, had died of cancer, hundreds of people, partymen and others started streaming to the MN Smarakam, situted near the Government Boys’ Model HSS at Thycaud.
By 4.30 pm, when the mortal remains were brought to the party office from the private hospital where he breathed his last, a veritable sea of humanity had assembled. Opposition Leader V S Achuthanandan soon joined CPI leaders Veliyam Bhargavan, C Divakaran, Panniyan Raveendran, K E Ismail and Kanam Rajendran. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy arrived by 5.30 pm, straight from the Assembly.
Many CPI leaders were in tears. Chandrappan, according to them, was not just a big leader, but a good man whose short stint as party State secretary was akin to the passing of a meteor. "Few thought that he would pass away so suddenly,’’ was the common refrain heard in the crowd. "He was a man known for his simplicity,’’ was how CPI leader Mullakkara Ratnakaran described the deceased leader.