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Kerala: Traffic stops to allow hearse of Oommen Chandy to pass

Thiruvananthapuram: Traffic came to a halt and hundreds of people were seen waiting on the side of the busy main road from the Thiruvananthapuram airport to his house in the state capital city to catch one last glimpse of the hearse of former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

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Seventy-nine-year-old Chandy passed away in Bengaluru where he was undergoing treatment for throat cancer at 4.25 a.m. on Tuesday, following which his mortal remains were flown to the state capital city and then taken by road to his house.

Former Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy’s body arrives at his hometown in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala on Tuesday. The veteran Congress leader passed away in Bengaluru after fighting a long battle with cancer (Photo: PTI)

Irrespective of political affiliations, State Ministers, high ranking officials (both retired and serving), various top politicians, besides Congress leaders were at the airport to receive the former Chief Minister’s body.

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The nearly seven-km long drive from the airport to Chandy’s house took more than an hour as people waited for long to see Kerala’s most affable politician.

At several points, the hearse stopped for people to have a quick look and many were seen recording the events on their mobile phones.

The hearse stopped before the deceased Congress legislator’s hostel which was where he spend a good part of his 53 years as a legislator starting from 1970 when he won his debut election from Puthupally in Kottayam district till his medical treatment started in Bengaluru in November last year.

His record of not losing a single Assembly election and also for being the longest serving legislator of 53 years speaks volumes of his popularity.

When the hearse reached his house, it was received by former Defence Minister A.K. Antony and his wife besides a massive crowd of well-wishers and family members and slogans hailing Chandy was heard for a long time.

The body after the first prayers will be taken to the Durbar Hall in the state Secretariat where he was a two-time Chief Minister and a cabinet Minister on three different occasions.

Later, Chandy’s body will be taken to the church which he attended whenever he was in the state capital and from there to the State Congress headquarters and back to his residence.

On Wednesday morning, it will be taken by road to Kottayam and on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. it will be interned at his home parish near his residence.

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