KOTTAYAM: Thousands from all walks of life lined up on both sides of the Ernakulam-Kottayam Highway to give a fitting tribute to former minister KM Mani, who passed away on Tuesday. It took more than 13 hours for the final procession to reach Kottayam town from Lakeshore hospital in Kochi, nearly 70 km away.
Though the original plan was to bring the mortal remains to Kottayam by noon and to take it to Pala by afternoon, the entire schedule went haywire after masses turned out all along the way. The plan was to commence the procession from Lakeshore hospital at 9.30 am.
But it got delayed by half-an-hour as a large number of people gathered at the hospital in the morning to pay last respects. The body was taken in a specially-prepared KSRTC low floor AC bus. The procession left the hospital premises by 10.05 am.
The body was accompanied by Mani’s son Jose K Mani MP in addition to KC (M) MLAs and other senior leaders. When the procession, which passed through Tripunithura and Poothotta, arrived at Vaikom by 3 pm, hundreds of people including Vaikom MLA CK Asha paid their last respects. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan paid homage to Mani at Appanchira near Vaikom dropping the original plan to arrive at Kottayam.
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By 6.15 pm, the procession arrived at Kaduthuruthi. Speaker Sreeramkrishnan, former Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan, Ministers Kadannappally Ramachandran, E Chandrasekharan, AK Saseendran, Muslim League leader KPA Majeed and MV Sreyamskumar, among others, paid their last respects.
Senior leaders, including AICC general secretary Oommen Chandy, Vayalar Ravi, Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, KC Joseph, Kerala Congress (Democratic) leader K Fransis George, Johny Nellore and others were present at Thirunakkara ground to receive the body, when it arrived here by 11.30 pm A large crowd was also present at the ground since morning as it was earlier informed the body would arrive here at noon.
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After public paid their homage at Thirunakkara ground, the mortal remains were taken to Mani’s residence in Pala late in the night.
A large number of people thronged the route to get a final glimpse of ‘Mani Sir’, which showed the love and care that Mani shared with his supporters.