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Oommen Chandy – Wiki, Biography, Facts & Life Story

Oommen Chandy
Oommen Chandy

Oommen Chandy, was a prominent Indian politician associated with the Indian National Congress (INC) and later the Indian National Congress (U), had a long and successful political journey. He began as a Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) by winning the 1970 Kerala Legislative Assembly elections from the Puthuppally constituency on an INC ticket.



Over the years, he represented Puthuppally in several elections, winning in 1977, 1980 (as an INC-U candidate), 1982, 1987, 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011, 2016, and 2021. Notably, Chandy also served as the Chief Minister of Kerala from 2004 to 2006 and again from 2011 to 2016.

Positions Held

During his political career, Oommen Chandy held significant ministerial positions in the Kerala government. He served as the Minister for Labour from 1977 to 1978, Minister for Home from 1981 to 1982, and Minister for Finance from 1991 to 1994. Additionally, he had two terms as the Chief Minister of Kerala, first from 2004 to 2006 and later from 2011 to 2016.

Awards & Honours

In recognition of his contributions to public service and the ‘Mass Contact Programme,’ Oommen Chandy received the prestigious United Nations Public Service Award for the Asia-Pacific region in the category of “Preventing and Combating Corruption in the Public Service” in 2013.


Throughout his political career, Oommen Chandy faced some controversies, including his alleged involvement in the 2013 Kerala Solar Panel Scam and the Vizhinjam Port Corruption case. However, he was ultimately exonerated in these cases, with the commission describing them as politically motivated fabrications.

Personal Life

Oommen Chandy was born on 31 October 1943, in Puthuppally, Kerala, India. He passed away at the age of 79 at a private hospital in Bengaluru. The cause of his death was cancer, a battle he had been fighting since 2019.

He followed the Christian faith and had a strong educational background, including studies at St. George Govt. V. H. S. S. school in Puthuppally, CMS College Kottayam, St. Berchmans College in Changanassery, and Government Law College in Ernakulam.

Family & Relationships

Oommen Chandy was a married man. He tied the knot with Mariamma Oommen on 30 May 1977. Together, they had a son named Chandy Oommen and two daughters named Maria and Achu. His parents, K. O. Chandy and Baby Chandy, had both passed away.

Net Worth

As of 2021, Oommen Chandy’s net worth was estimated to be around Rs. 3,18,72,982. This included both movable assets like cash, bank deposits, and shares in companies, as well as immovable assets such as agricultural land worth Rs. 3,41,00,000. The net worth calculation excluded assets owned by his wife and dependents.

Some Lesser Known Facts About Oommen Chandy

  • Oommen Chandy (1943-2023) was a prominent Indian politician and a veteran leader of the Indian National Congress. He held the position of Kerala’s 10th Chief Minister twice, i.e., from 2004-2006 and 2011-2016. Oommen held the unique distinction of being the only Indian Chief Minister to be awarded for public service by the United Nations. Chandy had been the representative of the Puthuppally constituency in the Kerala Legislative Assembly since 1970, earning him the status of the longest-serving Member of the Legislative Assembly in Kerala’s history. He held significant positions within the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), serving as the President of the Kottayam district committee, the Vice President of the All India Youth Wing, and leading various trade union organizations affiliated with the INTUC. Oommen Chandy passed away while receiving treatment for cancer in Bengaluru in 2023.
  • Oommen Chandy began his political journey in 1965 with the Kerala Students Union (KSU). His alignment with the Congress party began shortly after joining this union. He was soon appointed as the State General Secretary of the KSU, a student organization that serves as the student wing of the Indian National Congress in Kerala. In 1967, he was appointed as the State President of the union, and in 1970, he was elected as the president of the State Youth Congress.
  • Oommen Chandy and Mariamma got engaged in 1977, just before the Kerala Legislative Assembly elections. In an interview, Mariamma disclosed how Oommen wrote his first love letter to her after their marriage was fixed. Interestingly, two lines in the letter that particularly struck her were related to the upcoming elections as Oommen was preparing to contest the imminent 1977 Kerala Legislative Assembly elections. The lines in the letter read,
  • “It is election time, keep me in your prayers.”

  • Mariamma further revealed that this was Chandy’s second time contesting in the State Legislative Assembly elections, and it was anticipated to be challenging. Her family and relatives, in their apprehension, urged her to pray for Oommen’s victory, fearing that she might face blame if he did not succeed. Mariamma devoted herself to praying, and ultimately, Chandy emerged victorious. When Chandy ascended to the position of minister, their wedding plans were postponed due to his demanding schedule. This delay sparked speculation among her relatives that Chandy might cancel the wedding. Despite the rumours, Mariamma never lost faith in Chandy. Their wedding took place on 30 May 1977. Unconventionally, they extended wedding invitations to their guests through a notice published in a newspaper.
  • Oommen Chandy was known for his composed demeanor, exceptional patience, and unpretentious simplicity. In an interview, his wife, Mariamma Oommen, highlighted his unaffected simplicity, comparing it to his mother, Baby Chandy’s, naivety. She explained that, much like his mother, he found it hard to refuse any request or deny anyone assistance.
  • Oommen was not particular about his food. Mariamma, in an interview, shared insights into his eating habits and revealed that Oommen was content to eat whatever was within reach even if it happened to be an overripe fruit. Mariamma said,
  • “He is not picky about food. If there is a rotting fruit on the table among many, Kunju would pick that to eat. That is him.”
  • Oommen Chandy was deeply spiritual. In an interview, his daughter Achu shed light on this aspect of his personality, stating that if he hadn’t embarked on a political career, he would likely have become a priest.
  • Chandy is highly revered for his work as the Chief Minister of Kerala and his dedication to the welfare of the state’s people. In an interview, his wife, Mariamma, discussed his profound commitment to the people and his constituency and mentioned that Chandy prioritized them over her. Drawing a parallel with the biblical story of ‘Jacob, Rachel, and Leah,’ Mariamma elucidated that just as Jacob, who was in love with the beautiful Rachel, had to marry Leah due to unforeseen circumstances, similarly, Chandy’s ‘Rachel’ was the Puthuppally constituency, while she herself was his ‘Leah’.
  • Chandy is highly revered for his work as the Chief Minister of Kerala and his dedication to the welfare of the state’s people. In an interview, his wife, Mariamma, discussed his profound commitment to the people and his constituency and mentioned that Chandy prioritized them over her. Drawing a parallel with the biblical story of ‘Jacob, Rachel, and Leah,’ Mariamma elucidated that just as Jacob, who was in love with the beautiful Rachel, had to marry Leah due to unforeseen circumstances, similarly, Chandy’s ‘Rachel’ was the Puthuppally constituency, while she herself was his ‘Leah’.
  • After becoming Kerala’s Chief Minister on 31 August 2004, Oommen Chandy embraced the motto ‘Athivegam Bahudooram’ (Fast and Far). He implemented several schemes for laborers, including unemployment benefits and welfare measures. During his term, the number of cochlear implant surgeries significantly increased. The government also initiated the ‘Mruthasanjeevani’ project to encourage deceased organ donation and transplantation in Kerala, leading to a surge in organ implantation surgeries.
  • Oommen Chandy significantly contributed to the education and infrastructure sectors during his tenure. Information Technology was made a compulsory subject for school students, making Kerala the first Indian state to introduce such a mandate. The ‘Kite Victers’ TV channel, an edutainment network for children wholly owned by the Government of Kerala, was inaugurated by A. P. J. Abdul Kalam on 28 July 2005. Chandy’s administration also approved the ‘Hill Highway’ project in 2005, a substantial initiative aimed at connecting the hilly eastern districts of Kerala. Despite being proposed in 1960, the project had initially struggled to gain traction. Chandy inaugurated the first phase of this project, spanning from Kasaragod to Palakkad, at an event in Payyavoor village on 17 January 2005.
  • During his second term as Chief Minister (2011-2016), the ministry adopted the motto ‘Vikasanavum Karuthalum’ (Development and Care). In 2012, the Karunya Benevolent scheme was launched for the cost-free treatment of patients with Cancer, Haemophilia, kidney, and heart diseases.
  • On 12 September 2012, the ‘Emerging Kerala 2012–Global Connect’ was inaugurated at Kochi, Kerala under Chandy’s ministry.
  • During his second term as Kerala’s Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy notably spearheaded significant infrastructure projects. He launched developments such as the Kannur International Airport, the Kochi Metro, the Vizhinjam International Seaport at Thiruvananthapuram, and the SmartCity Kochi project. In 2012, he approved the Thiruvananthapuram Light Metro and Kozhikode Light Metro projects, which proposed a medium-capacity rail system, offering a transportation capacity between light rail and typical heavy-rail rapid transit. Furthermore, in 2013, he initiated the Suburban rail project, connecting Thiruvananthapuram with Chengannur near Kottayam.
  • Oommen Chandy commissioned the Kochi-Mangaluru Natural Gas Pipeline under the Gail Authority of India Limited (GAIL) in 2013. He also inaugurated the third phase of the ‘Technopark’ technology park project in Thiruvananthapuram in 2014, turning it into the largest tech park in India. In the same period from 2011 to 2016, the ‘Taurus Downtown’ project commenced, aiming to create a world-class business infrastructure within Technopark. Furthermore, Chandy inaugurated the second phase of the ‘Infopark, Kochi’ IT park in May 2015, coinciding with the completion of phase two of the ‘InfoPark Thrissur’ construction.
  • During Oommen Chandy’s second term as Chief Minister of Kerala, the state-owned IT and technology park, ‘Cyberpark Kozhikode’, was officially opened by IT Minister P. K. Kunhalikutty on 15 February 2014. This was followed by the inauguration of ‘UL CyberPark’, another major IT park, in Kozhikode in January 2016. Chandy’s tenure also saw significant administrative restructuring, with the formation of 12 new Taluks, 28 new Municipalities, and the Kannur Municipal Corporation, marking the most extensive Taluk delimitation in Kerala since 1957. This was done to promote effective decentralisation and proper resource allocation across the state. Additionally, the Chandy government undertook numerous infrastructure projects, including the construction of several state highways, and in 2014, it decided to widen the state’s national highways to 45 meters.
  • Under Oommen Chandy’s leadership, Kerala saw extensive infrastructural development, with the construction of approximately 227 road bridges valued at nearly Rs. 1,600 crores. Key projects included the Karamana-Kaliyikkavila bypass and Kazhakootam-Karode bypass for the city of Thiruvananthapuram, which were initiated and commenced during his term. Apart from infrastructure, Chandy also focused on public engagement. On 20 April 2011, he introduced the ‘Mass Contact Programme’, an initiative aimed at addressing the grievances of Kerala’s residents directly.
  • Under Oommen Chandy’s leadership, Kerala established government medical colleges in all 14 districts, marking the first such initiative in 31 years. Notably, the General Hospital in Manjeri was converted into a medical college. His second term as Chief Minister also saw the foundation of several public institutions including the National University of Advanced Legal Studies in Kochi (2005), Thunchath Ezhuthachan Malayalam University in Tirur (2012), APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University in Thiruvananthapuram (2014), Indian Institute of Technology Palakkad (2015), and K. R. Narayanan National Institute of Visual Science and Arts in Kottayam (2016). Furthermore, the ‘Total E-Literacy Programme’ for digital literacy was launched in Thiruvananthapuram, highlighting Chandy’s focus on education.
  • Under Oommen Chandy’s leadership, the inauguration of the MW solar project at Cochin International Airport took place, transforming it into the world’s first fully solar-powered airport. The airport subsequently received numerous accolades, such as the United Nations’ ‘Champion of the Earth’ award in 2018 and the ‘Best Airport in Asia-Pacific’ in 2020 by the Airports Council International.
  • Under his leadership, the Kerala Urban Road Transport Corporation (KURTC) was inaugurated in April 2015, and the work on the final phase of the Kollam Bypass commenced in May of the same year. Chandy’s government also prioritized social welfare, doubling pensions and introducing free rations for the unemployed and housing for the homeless. They ensured a minimum price for rubber, distributed food kits during festivals, and provided free rice to those below the poverty line. In a significant move, they decided to ban liquor across the state. Chandy’s tenure culminated in Kerala being declared India’s first fully digital state in February 2016.
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