Abu Dhabi: Several prominent South Indian expatriates in United Arab Emirates (UAE) expressed grief on the demise of former chief minister of Kerala, Ommen Chandy.
Ommen Chandy, who won a UN award for public service, passed away on Tuesday in Kerala. Many Keralites remembered the leader for introducing initiatives for Non-Resident Keralites (NRKs) and boosting ties with the UAE for the prosperity of Kerala residents and inviting projects from the UAE to the state.
There are nearly one million Keralites, also known as Malayalis, living in UAE.
Chandy had good diplomatic relations with UAE and he went there several times on officials as well as personally visits, since his daughter Achu Oommen and many relatives live there.
Some Malayalee expats, cutting across religious lines, also visited their state to pay last respect to their ‘favourite leader’, who served in politics for a long time.
Chairman and managing director of LuLu Group International, M A Yusuff Ali also conveyed his condolence message and recalled Chandy’s philanthropic efforts and leadership skills.
Yusuff Ali said that Chandy always felt for the people of Kerala and stood for their development and welfare. “I have had decades of love and friendship with him. As a director of Kochi International Airport, I got a chance to interact with him very closely. He was also a popular and philanthropic ruler and he brought relief to many people,” Yusuff Ali said.
“His service to the people fetched him an award from the United Nations in 2013 during his tenure as CM. Even when he was not in the administrative leadership, he did a lot welfare of the people,” he added.
Founder chairman and managing director of Aster DM Healthcare, Dr Azad Moopen also paid tribute to Chandy and called him one of the most respected politicians in Kerala state.
“He was a true people’s leader who drew strength from being amongst them. His statesmanship widely benefited the state when he served as MLA for over 50 years,” Azad Moopen said.
Founder and chairman of Burjeel Holdings, Dr Shamsheer Vayalil expressed his grief and said Chany’s passing leaves a void in the heart of the expat community.