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Oommen Chandy Biography

Oommen Chandy

Oommen Chandy

Full NameOommen Chandy
ConstituencyPuthuppally, Kottayam
Political PartyIndian National Congress
Place of BirthPuthuppally
Marital StatusMarried
Spouse NameMariamma Oommen
Children1 son and 2 daughters
EducationSt. Berchmans College, CMS College Kottayam, Government Law College, Ernakulam
Mother's NameBaby Chandy
Father's NameKarottu Oommen Chandy
Position heldMember of Kerala Legislative Assembly (25 May 1970

About Oommen Chandy

Oommen Chandy is a two-time former chief minister of Kerala. He has served in this position from 2004 to 2006 and 2011 to 2016. He is a veteran Congress leader who has been active in politics for over four decades now. He has been elected to the state legislative Assembly for ten times.

Personal Background of Oommen Chandy

Oommen Chandy was born on 31 October 1943 at Kumarakom in Kottayam district of Kerala to K.O. Chandy and Baby Chandy. He completed his university education from CMS College, Kottayam and SB College in Changanassery. He also attained a Bachelor’s degree in Law (LLB) from the Government Law College in Ernakulam.

Oommen Chandy is married to Mariamma Oommen and has three children with her. Ahead of the 2016 Kerala Assembly elections, Chandy declared that he has no cash in hand. He has moveable assets worth Rs. 3.21 lakh and his spouse has immoveable assets worth Rs. 75 lakh.

Political Career of Oommen Chandy

Oommen Chandy got acquainted with politics during his college days when he joined the Kerala Students Union. He was the president of the Union from 1967 to 1969. In 1970, Chandy was appointed as the president of the State Youth Congress.

Oommen Chandy has been elected to the Kerala Legislative Assembly from Puthuppally Assembly constituency for an unbelievable ten times in 1970, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1987, 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011. Chandy also served as Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee during 1996–98.

Oommen Chandy has served four terms as a cabinet minister of Kerala. He was the Minister of Labour from 11 April 1977 to 27 October 1978. He served as the state Home Minister in the second K. Karunakaran government from 28 December 1981 to 17 March 1982. Chandy was again given the important portfolio of Finance in the ministry of K. Karunakaran on 2 July 1991.

The Indian National Congress (INC) had registered a convincing win in the 2004 General Elections but the party failed to get hold of even a single seat from the state of Kerala. The then CM of Kerala, A.K. Antony, bore the brunt of Congress' loss in the state and was removed from his post. Oommen Chandy was chosen by the party high command to replace Antony. Hence, Chandy assumed the office of the Chief Minister of Kerala for the first time in 2004. Chandy remained in the chair for the next two years but quit it on 12 May 2006 following his party's loss in the 2006 Kerala Assembly Elections.

In the 2011 Assembly elections, the Oommen Chandy-led United Democratic Front (UDF) clinched victory by a thin margin of four seats. The UDF won 72 assembly seats, just four more than its rival, the Left Democratic Front (LDF), which got 68. Subsequently, Chandy was sworn in as the Chief Minister on 18 May 2011. While serving as the Chief Minister of the state, Chandy also held the portfolio of Vigilance, which he had to give up when a fresh probe was ordered into the Palm Oil scam.

Although Chandy had become the Chief Minister of the state after his party UDF's slender majority, he introduced 107 programmes to put the state's development on a fast track under the 100-day programme of the government. The state government, under Chandy's leadership, managed to launch 101 of these 107 programmes.

In the academic year 2011-12, Oommen Chandy introduced a package to help those teachers who had lost their jobs due to dwindling number of students in government-aided schools. The package facilitated the process of the transfer of the jobless teachers to schools with higher number of students.

Controversies surrounding Oommen Chandy

The Palmolien Import Scam broke out in 1991-92 when Oommen Chandy was Finance Minister in the K. Karunakaran government. The scam is reported to have caused the state a loss of Rs 2.32 crore.

The case was reopened in March 2011. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy wanted to step down from his position, but was convinced to continue by the Congress Core Committee. He did resign from the post of Vigilance Minister to ensure impartial investigation into the case.

The Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) gave clean chit to Oommen Chandy in its investigation report stating that the then finance minister Chandy had not granted any unfair monetary benefit to the private firm 'Power and Energy Ltd'.

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In another controversy, Yamini Thankachy, wife of Ganesh Kumar, who was Forest Minister in Chandy's government, had filed a formal complaint to the Chief Minister alleging that her husband used to beat her and that he was having an extra-marital affair. Oommen Chandy allegedly refused to act on her complaint. The opposition held Chandy's inaction as a violation of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.

Oommen Chandy as Chief Minister

Oommen Chandy introduced a policy of curbing sale and consumption of liquor in Kerala in order to prevent youngsters from excessive drinking. The policy was upheld by Kerala High Court. Chandy said that unlike the main opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF), his UDF government had a clear policy on liquor. His government took the decision to not renew licenses of the 730 liquor bars in the state as a step towards total prohibition.

Awards and Recognitions

Oommen Chandy was chosen by the United Nations for the 2013 United Nations Public Service Award from the Asia-Pacific region under the "Preventing and Combating Corruption in the Public Service" category on 27 June 2013.

Last Updated on July 08, 2020