Chandy all set to steer Kerala again

For one who once fell short of money after a meal at a restaurant in the company of A K Antony, now the defence minister of India, Chandy has come a long way since his foray into student politics in the 1960s.

At 67, the father of three and grandfather of two is widely viewed as the tallest political leader the Congress has in Kerala. Even before Kerala went to the polls, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that Chandy would get the chief minister’s chair if the Congress-led UDF crushed the Marxists.

This will be his second stint as chief minister. He first got the post in 2004 when Antony stepped down after the Congress was routed in the Lok Sabha election. Chandy — a graduate in humanities and law — is the fourth Congress Kerala chief minister after R Sankar, K Karunakaran (four times) and Antony (thrice).

Chandy has been elected to the Kerala legislature from Puthupally in Kottayam district uninterrupted since his first election victory in 1970. As a young legislator, Chandy was in the illustrious company of veterans like E M S Nampoothiripad, Antony, Pinnarayi Vijayan and V S Achuthanandan, the outgoing chief minster. Over the decades, Chandy has held every key position. He has held the ministries of home, labour and finance. He has also been opposition leader in the house. He was also the convenor of the UDF.

Chandy is light heartedly referred to in the Congress as “Queen Bee” because there is always a crowd around him - whatever the time of the day, whatever the occasion or venue. Chandy himself admits that he feels out of place if he is not surrounded by a crowd, even if they are pestering him for anything and everything.

But Chandy’s persona has seen visible changes. Gone are the days when he was seen in torn shirts. Here again the joke was that the man used to tear his clothes before wearing them! Unlike most politicians, the man is known for his simplicity and spartan lifestyle. It is almost certain that he will continue to stay in his own residence in the capital

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