Oommen Chandy

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Oommen Chandy
Chief Minister of Kerala
Oommen Chandy.png
Chief Minister of Kerala
Incumbent
Assumed office
May 18, 2011
Governor Sheila Dikshit
Nikhil Kumar
Hansraj Bhardwaj
M. O. H. Farook
R. S. Gavai
Preceded by V.S. Achuthanandan
Constituency Puthuppally
In office
August 31, 2004 – May 18, 2006
Governor R. L. Bhatia
Preceded by A. K. Antony
Succeeded by V.S. Achuthanandan
Constituency Puthuppally
Minister of Home Affairs Kerala State
In office
2011–2012
Preceded by Kodiyeri Balakrishnan
Succeeded by Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan
In office
2004–2006
Preceded by A. K. Antony
Succeeded by Kodiyeri Balakrishnan
In office
1981–1982
Preceded by T.K. Ramakrishnan
Succeeded by Vayalar Ravi
Minister of Finance Kerala State
In office
1991–1994
Preceded by V. Viswanatha Menon
Succeeded by C.V. Padmarajan
Minister of Labour Kerala State
In office
1977–1978
Preceded by Baby John
Succeeded by M.K. Raghavan
Leader of the Opposition Kerala Legislature
In office
2006–2011
Preceded by V.S. Achuthanandan
Succeeded by V.S. Achuthanandan
Member of the Legislative Assembly for Puthuppally
Incumbent
Assumed office
1970
Personal details
Born (1943-10-31) October 31, 1943 (age 70)
Puthuppally, Travancore
Political party Indian National Congress Flag of the Indian National Congress.svg
Spouse(s) Mariamma Oommen
Children 1 son and 2 daughters
Residence Puthuppally, Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram
Religion Christian[1]
Website http://www.keralacm.gov.in/
As of April 9, 2014
Source: Govt. of Kerala

Oommen Chandy (born October 31, 1943) is an Indian politician and is the current Chief Minister of Kerala since May 2011.[2] Previously he was Chief Minister from 2004 to 2006, and he was the Leader of the Opposition in the Kerala Legislative Assembly from 2006 to 2011.[3]

Early life[edit]

Oommen Chandy or 'Kunjoonju' was born to K.O. Chandy and Baby Chandy at Kumarakom, Kottayam district, Kerala. Oommen is another Nasrani name variant for the name Thomas, and Chandy means Alexander.

Chandy ventured into the political arena as an activist of Kerala Students Union (KSU), the student wing of the party. He was the unit president of KSU at St George High School, Puthupally, and went on to become the State President of the organization. Chandy completed his college education from CMS College, Kottayam, SB College, Changanassery. Later, he took a bachelors degree in law (LLB) from Government Law College, Ernakulam. He is also a trade unionist and heads several INTUC affiliated outfits.

Political life[edit]

Chandy started his political career through the Kerala Students Union (KSU), which he served as president from 1967 to 1969. He was elected as the president of the State Youth Congress in 1970. He is the 21st chief minister of Kerala at present.

He has represented the Puthuppally Constituency for decades, having been elected to the Kerala Legislative Assembly in 1970, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1987, 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011. During his legislative career he had also served as Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee during 1996–98.

Election Victories
Year Closest rival Majority (votes)
1970 E.M.George (CPM) 7,288
1977 P.C.Cherian (BLD) 15,910
1980 M.R.G.Panicker (NDP) 13,659
1982 Thomas Rajan (ICS) 15,983
1987 V.N.Vasavan (CPM) 9,164
1991 V.N.Vasavan (CPM) 13,811
1996 Reji Zacharia (CPM) 10,155
2001 Cherian Philip(CPM Ind.) 12,575
2006 Sindhu Joy (CPM) 19,863
2011 Suja Susan George (CPM) 33,255

Minister[edit]

Chandy sworn as a minister in Kerala for four times. He was the Minister for Labour from 11.04.1977 to 25.04.1977 in the first K. Karunakaran Ministry and continued holding the same portfolio in the succeeding first A.K. Antony Ministry till 27.10.1978. He was in the charge of Home portfolio in the second K. Karunakaran Ministry from 28.12.1981 to 17.03.1982. Again, he was sworn in as a minister in the fourth K.Karunakaran Ministry on July 2, 1991. He was in charge of Finance Portfolio and resigned from the cabinet on 22.06.1994 due to difference with the Chief Minister.

Minister in different ministries[edit]

No. Head of the Ministry Period Portfolio
1 K. Karunakaran 11/04/1977 – 25.04/1977 Labour
2 A. K. Antony 27/04/1977 – 27/10/1978 Labour
3 K. Karunakaran 28/12/1981 – 17/03/1982 Home
4 K. Karunakaran 02/07/1991 – 22/06/1994 Finance
5 Oommen Chandy 31/08/2004 – 18/05/2006 Chief Minister
6 Oommen Chandy 17/05/2011 – till Date Chief Minister

Chief Minister 2004–2006[edit]

The results of the parliamentary elections in May 2004 saw the Indian National Congress not winning a single seat in Kerala. The sitting Chief Minister, A.K. Antony, was forced to resign and accept responsibility for the poor results. On August 30, 2004, Oommen was elected the Congress Legislature Party leader at the end of a meeting by AICC observers and clearance by the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi. In what may be seen as a reflection of his work as Chief Minister, the Congress-led alliance was defeated, but managed to retain 40 out of 140 seats in the assembly and boost its vote-share by nearly 10% after the general election rout. He resigned as Chief Minister on May 12, 2006 following the defeat of his party in 2006 Assembly Elections.

Leader of Opposition[edit]

Oommen Chandy was the leader of opposition in the twelfth Kerala Legislative Assembly. 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.

Leader of Congress Parliamentary Party[edit]

After winning the closely contested 2011 assembly election, Congress legislative party unanimously elected Oommen Chandy as its leader. At the Congress Legislature Party meeting, Mr. Chandy's name was proposed by Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Ramesh Chennithala and seconded by Aryadan Mohammed. The election process was formally launched after Congress Working Committee (CWC) member Mohsina Kidwai and AICC general secretary Madhusoodan Mistry, who is in charge of Kerala, held a one-to-one meeting in their capacity as observers with the 38 elected MLAs.

Second term as Chief Minister (from 2011 onwards)[edit]

UDF (United Democratic Front) led by Oommen Chandy secured a slender margin in assembly election which held on April 13, 2011. UDF candidates won in 72 seats against 68 seats of LDF (Left Democratic Front). He took the oath on May 18, 2011 with six other ministers of his cabinet. Later thirteen other ministers were also inducted into his cabinet. He gave up Vigilance Portfolio in early August 2011, after a fresh probe was ordered on the Palm Oil case (which happened when he was Finance Minister in 1992).

Though UDF came to power with a wafer thin majority, his 100 days programmes announced propelled the state fast forward. 107 programmes were announced as part of the 100 days programme of the Government. Out of this the government could accomplished a whopping figure of 101 leaving just 6 of the programmes unfinished. This really gave a boost to the governance. The policies adopted by Oommen Chandy helped to bridge the gap between people and officials.

UNDP appreciated Oommen Chandy, for the range of innovative practices in democratic governance, initiated by the Government of Kerala in strengthening people's access and participation in human development and governance. They were impressed by the innovative approach to ensure transparency and accountability in Governance, particularly the to web-stream the entire functioning of CM’s office. The Mass Contact Programme, in many ways, is the first of its kind to ensure the right to direct access to leaders and senior civil servants of the government.[4]

Oommen Chandy left the post of Home Ministry on 13 April 2012 and Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan took charge of the post.[5]

Aid for endosulfan victims[edit]

The UDF Government had increased the aid from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh. As many as 176 victims who had been given Rs 50,000 earlier were given an additional Rs 50,000 on Monday. The remaining families in the list of 486 victims were distributed Rs 1 lakh each.[6]

Enforcing transparency[edit]

In an attempt to enforce transparency 24x7 live webcast streaming of Chief ministers office and meeting chamber started on July 1, 2011. This is streamed on the official website of the Chief Minister of Kerala.[7]

Teacher's Package[edit]

A package was introduced for the teacher's of aided school's of Kerala. It helped teachers who lost their job in schools that had no or less number of students. The package transferred jobless teachers into other schools.The procedures of teachers bank were done online. The teacher's bank came effective from the academic year 2011–12.

Palmolein Import Scam[edit]

The allegation of Palmolein Import Scam occurred during the year 1991–92 in the Kerala state when K. Karunakaran was the chief minister of the state and the ruling party was United Democratic Front. During this time Oommen Chandy was the Finance Minister[8] of the state 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[9] during the election period of 2011. However this did not affect the election results to a great extent.

The court stated that Oommen 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.[10] 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 reopen, 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.[11]

The vigilance court asked the vigilance and anti-corruption bureau to submit its investigation report of the palmolein case by November 10, 2011. The Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) gave a clean chit to Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on January 7, 2012. The Vigilance team submitted its further probe report in the palmolein import case, saying there was no evidence to arraign Chief Minister Oommen Chandy as an accused.

The facts, evidences and circumstances of the case in the probe showed Oommen Chandy had not committed any illegal acts or omissions as the then finance minister, the report said.

The VACB report said Oommen Chandy was not part of the conspiracy which caused the state exchequer a loss of Rs 2.32 crore. He had not acted in a manner to ensure undue monetary advantage for the private firm involved in the import.[11]

Awards and Honours[edit]

Oommen Chandy received the 2013 United Nations Public Service Award[12][13][14] from the Asia-Pacific region, for the category "Preventing and Combating Corruption in the Public Service." The award was presented on June 27, 2013, in Manama, Bahrain, by the UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Wu Hongbo. The award was based on the theme "Transformative e-Government and Innovation: Creating a Better Future for All."

Ganesh - Yamini controversy[edit]

He again became the centre of attention with the issues regarding the marital problems of Ganesh Kumar who was the Forest minister in Chandy's cabinet. Opposition parties condemned the nature of Oommen Chandy as callous and demanded his resignation for allegedly refusing to accept a letter of complaint from Dr Yamini Thankachy whose husband Mr Ganesh Kumar had assaulted her brutally under the circumstances of an extramarital affair that Mr Ganesh Kumar was alleged to have.[15] It was widely believed that the alleged refusal of Mr Oommen Chandy to accept a letter of complaint from Dr Yamini was to diffuse the crisis involving a member in his cabinet and further avoid any embarrassment for his government which had just a razor thin majority in the legislative assembly, since, accepting a letter of complaint would mean that further actions would be mandated from the chief minister such as ordering a criminal investigation under the Indian penal code. It was strongly believed by his rivals that Mr Oommen Chandy had violated the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 by not taking up this matter to law enforcement authorities in the very first encounter that Dr Yamini had with Mr Oommen Chandy, but instead Mr Oommen Chandy tried to diffuse it by asking more time to mediate this matter by negotiation, as reported by Dr Yamini Thankachi.[16]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Oomen Chandy". www.veethi.com. Galaxy Infomedia. Retrieved 4 Jul 2014. 
  2. ^ "Oommen Chandy's 70th Birthday Special". 
  3. ^ Krishnan, Anantha. "Kerala assembly elections 2011: UDF wins by narrow margin". The Times Of India. 
  4. ^ "Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy gives up vigilance portfolio after probe order". The Times Of India. August 9, 2011. [dead link]
  5. ^ "Kerala gets two more ministers". The Hindu (Chennai, India). April 13, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Oommen Chandy sworn in Kerala CM". Chennai, India: The Hindu. May 18, 2011. 
  7. ^ Bajaj, Vikas (July 17, 2011). "Transparent Government, via Webcams in India". New York, United States of America: The New York Times. 
  8. ^ Probe Chandy’s role in 1992 Palmolein case Zee News, Thiruvananthapuram, August 8, 2011
  9. ^ Palmolein import scandal case to be reopened The Economic Times,Thiruvanathapuram, March 15, 2011
  10. ^ Palmolein case: Chandy knew, feels the Court The New Indian Express, August 10, 2011
  11. ^ a b Palm oil deal glare on Chandy The Telegraph,Thiruvananthapuram, August 8, 2011.
  12. ^ "Chandy wins UN Award" The Hindu, Thiruvananthapuram, June 26, 2013.
  13. ^ "UN Public Administration Programme" UN Public Administration Programme.
  14. ^ "Chandy Wins UN Award" The Economic Times.
  15. ^ "Uproar in Kerala Assembly over Ganesh Kumar's resignation; Opposition wants CM to step down". India Today. 2 Apr 2013. Retrieved 29 Jan 2014. 
  16. ^ "Ex-Minister’s wife alleges domestic violence, says Oommen Chandy has let her down". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 2 Apr 2013. Retrieved 29 Jan 2014. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
A. K. Antony
Chief Minister of Kerala
August 31, 2004 – May 18, 2006
Succeeded by
V. S. Achuthanandan
Preceded by
V. S. Achuthanandan
Chief Minister of Kerala
2011– till date
Succeeded by
Incumbent