Leader who always put people before anything

The slogans, “Athivegam Bahudooram” and “Vikasanavum Karuthalum”, coined during Chandy’s tenure, sum up his style of administration.

Published: 19th July 2023 07:29 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th July 2023 07:29 AM   |  A+A-

Oommen Chandy interacting with public during a Mass Contact Programme. (File photo)

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  A politician who always put people first, former chief minister Oommen Chandy realised that reaching out to the masses was the most rewarding experience. It was this style of functioning that bagged him the United Nations Public Service Award in Preventing and Combating Corruption in the public service category, making him the first CM in India to get it. 

He understood that the Jana Samparkka Paripadi, the mass contact programme (MCP) launched during his second tenure (2011-2016), will not only benefit the masses but also help him and the UDF government connect with people directly and understand their needs and aspirations.

Chandy was always a people’s leader, putting their interests above him. This was why during an MCP event, he visited and met different people without taking a break – and a seat – for 18 hours at a stretch. The MCP was Chandy firing a salvo at the LDF, then in the Opposition, in all 14 districts. It saw over 10,000 people benefiting from it. 

Though the LDF kept alleging that Chandy has done nothing yeomen, and had merely played “village officer”, he silenced detractors through various outreach programmes, ranging from giving funds to the sick under Karunya Benevolent scheme to providing ration at subsidised rates, distributing social welfare pensions and introducing various schemes for the poor. 

Speaking to TNIE, K P Pradeep Kumar, one of Chandy’s former police security officers, recalled what the leader had told him: “I’ve never slept on the bed to get sleep, but lie on it only when I’m really sleepy.”
A few years ago, Chandy shared an interesting anecdote with journalists, one that he experienced during MCP.

It was about a dairy farmer whose cow had not provided milk for several weeks. The animal was his lone source of livelihood. When Chandy learnt of this, he immediately called the animal husbandry department officials and resolved the issue instantly. 

If former CM E K Nayanar reached out to people through his weekly phone-in programme, “Mukyamanthriyodu Chodikkam”, the MCP, in many ways, was the first-of-its-kind drive to ensure the right to direct access to the masses.

The slogans, “Athivegam Bahudooram” and “Vikasanavum Karuthalum”, coined during Chandy’s tenure, sum up his style of administration.

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