PALA: Finally, Pala Assembly constituency has been orphaned in its history. It may be a little difficult for Palaites to come to terms with the fact that their all-time MLA ‘Mani sir’ is no more.
Until Mani breathed his last on Tuesday, Pala has held the rare title of being a constituency that never had a ‘former MLA’ as KM Mani had been representing the constituency in the Legislative Assembly ever since its formation in 1965. The people here have always kept a strong bond with Mani since the rise from ‘Kunju Mani’ to ‘Mani sir’.
Though he couldn’t take the oath as an MLA when he first won the election from Pala in 1965 as no party or group was able to form a government, it has always been an upward march for Mani’s political career as he never lost an election from Pala till date. “Mani sir always said Pala is his second wife. He developed an indefinable bond with each one of the voters in his constituency which is the reason behind his lasting presence as an MLA for the past 54 years. He had always become a part of the joy and grief of each voter and was able to identify the voters in the constituency and used to address them by their name,” said Joy Abraham, Kerala Congress (M) general secretary and a confident of Mani.
He also maintained a good rapport with all the people whom he met during his life, irrespective of the political affiliation or geographical difference. TR Govindankutty Nair, hailing from Puthiyaparambil House at Kuravilangad, reminisces Mani as his classmate in 3rd and 4th forums at St Mary’s Boys HSS, Kuravilangad during 1946 and 1947.
“After school we worked together with the Indian National Congress (INC). Though we parted ways as Mani got more active in politics and climbed the steps of parliamentary politics, he never forgot the warmth of our friendship. When we met decades later, he introduced me to others as his classmate who had shared the same bench during the school days,” Nair said.
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According to Nair, Mani always enquired about the welfare of his classmates and teachers, had a mind to help all people who approached him seeking assistance. What Pala is going to miss will be the ‘Mani touch’ in all their issues. They have lost a person who always stood by their issues.