Know Your Leader Profile: Oommen Chandy- Indian National Congress
As a two time Chief Minister of Kerala, Oommen Chandy of the Indian National Congress had a bright political career since college days and he was firm on the road map of his much celebrated political career, despite two black spots attached.
He served and is serving as the Chief Minister twice. His first tenure was from 31-08-2004 to 18-05-2006 and second from 17-05-2011 to till date. His long political journey that kick started from 1967 as a student leader suggest that he was destined to assume top mantle of state of Kerala.
Oommen Chandy was born to a Jewish-Orthodox family at Kumarakom of Kottayam district, Kerala on October 31, 1943. He is the son of K O Chandy and mother Baby Chandy.
Chandy was pro-active in the arena of politics since his school days. While he was pursuing at St George High School, Chandy was the unit president of Kerala Students' Union (KSU) and further he became the State President of KSU.
Oommen Chandy completed his graduation (BA) in CMS college, Kottayam and SB college Changanassery. In addition to this he also possess Bachelors Degree in Law. He did his law schooling from Government Law College, Ernakulam.
Oommen Chandy is married Mariamma Oommen and she is a retired employee of Canara Bank. The Chief Minister has three children; two daughters, Maria and Achu and one son, Chandy Oommen.
Chandy from his tender age focused himself nothing but politics. Back in 1961 as Chandy turned 18 years, he held presidentship of All Kerala Balajana Sakhyam. In 1965 he served as General Secretary of KSU.
The man never turned back and went on to become the president of KSU in 1967 holding the stint till 1969. Both Oommen and Congress had confidence in his leadership. He in 1970 lead the youth wing of the Congress taking the helm of the President of Youth Congress.
Chandy's career is enviable, with he elected as Member of Legislative Assembly for 10 times from 1970 to 2014. In the hard fought election in 2011 the leadership of Oommen Chandy, he enabled the UDF (United Democratic Front) to bag 72 seats against 68 seats of LDF (Left Democratic Front).
Oommen Chandy was the leader of opposition in the twelfth Kerala Legislative Assembly (2006). Under his leadership UDF marked victories in Lok Sabha Election 2009 gaining 16 out of 20 parliament constituencies in Kerala. and Local Body Election 2010. In the history of Kerala politics it's the first time that the UDF got an upper hand in local body elections.
- Member of Legislative Assembly in 1970.
Though the leader enjoys great political graph, his career was also marred with two major scams, Palmolein Import Scam and Solar Scam.
Palmolein Import Scam
Palmolein scam rocked the state in 1991-1992, while Oommen Chandy was holding Finance Portfolio. and was responsible for financial accounts of the state of Kerala. This scam allegedly caused a loss of Rs 2.32 crore to the state.
The case once closed after the death of K. Karunakaran in December 2010 was reopened in March 2011 during the election period of 2011. However this did not affect the election results to a great extent.
The The court stated that Chandy had approved of the import of Palmolein through "Power and Energy Ltd" by paying 15% service charge and it was evident from his signature in the note. However the court has not been able to show any direct involvement of Oommen Chandy in the scam .
Aiding to the investigation of the case in 2011, when the case was reopened, Oommen Chandy, the then Chief Minister had agreed to step down from the Office of Chief Minister of Kerala in 2011, and face the case "legally and morally".
But on the advice on Congress core committee, Oommen Chandy continues to stay incumbent. To provide more trust and transparency to the investigation, Oommen Chandy gave up the portfolio of Vigilance and Anti Corruption.
A fraudulent company, Team Solar Energy Company duped investors, many of whom are politicians on the promises of building a alternative power units in Kerala. The company allegedly used two women to net political contacts including the Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy. The company duped several people to the tune of Rs 70 million by collecting advance from the investors.
Allegations against the Chief Minister Oommen Chandy have been raised, due to phone calls made by his personal staff and forged letters which were used by the fraudsters to defraud customers.
The issue snowballed when Sridharan Nair, a quarry owner, claimed that he had met the Chief Minister, at his office, along with Saritha, during which the Chief Minister encouraged investments in renewable energy.
The Chief Minister refuted these claims on the floor of the Assembly, stating that the only time he met Sridharan Nair was as a representative of Quarry owners.
In a major embarrassment to Congress- led UDF government in Kerala, the Thrissur vigilance court ordered registration of an FIR against Chandy and state Power Minister Arayadan Mohammed, in connection with the scam.
The allegations are being used by the opposition LDF as a reason to stall the proceedings of the Kerala Legislative Assembly and demand the resignation of the Kerala Chief Minister.