A large number of women party workers were among those who took part in a sit-in protest in front of the residence of former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy here on Saturday, raising slogans that he would not be allowed to leave his Puthupally constituency to contest from Nemom in the state capital district.
A youth supporter Justin, was seen squatting on the roof of his house threatening to jump, while other anxious supporters urged him to calm down.
He said he would descend only after he gets Cahndy’s assurance.
For the past four days, Chandy was in Delhi finalising the list of 91 candidates and the only news that was being aired over and over was that the former CM will be contesting from Nemom to stop the canards being spread by the CPI-M, that the BJP and Congress are hand in glove to purposefully manage the Muslim votes.
Nemom for the BJP is the Gujarat of Kerala, as it’s the only assembly seat that they won in the 2016 assembly polls and this time to end the canards of the CPI-M, the party has decided to field one of its stalwarts and hence Chandy’s name has come up in Congress.
His home is at Puthupally about 7 km from Kottayam and hundreds of supporters arrived at his home shouting slogans and was waiting for him to arrive from Delhi.
Supporters carrying huge cut-outs of Chandy blocked the area as women squated before his house, and men got all worked up.
“He is our God. For the past 50 years he has been our legislator and come what may, we will not allow him to contest from anywhere other than Puthupally,” said an elderly supporter.
A woman supporter said: “He will not leave Puthupally, nor will Puthupally allow him to leave. We have only one leader and that’s Chandy Sir. I have worked with him for the past 40 years,” said the 65-year-old.
His closest aide and eight time legislator K.C.Joseph was also spotted at Chandy’s house and the media caught up with him.
When asked about what was going on, Joseph said: “Oommen Chandy will be here only.”
As soon as the supporters heard it, a huge applause rang and a wave of relief was witnessed among those gathered at his house.
When Chandy finally arrived, the scenes were striking as the crowd went delirious and the car could not move forward, forcing him to get out and walk — all the time surrounded by hundreds as huge slogan were raised by the supporters.
After great difficulty Chandy managed to get inside his house and as he was seen drinking a glass of water and appeared near the window, people from outside pleaded with him not to leave Puthupally and go.
For 15 minutes he was seen in a closed door meeting with his closest aides and soon came huge shouts and applauses and the message came Chandy would not move out of Puthupally.
When the shouts came from inside the house, those gathered outside also got the message that their “Kunjoonju” as he is called in his constituency will not go away from Puthupally and it was all round excitement and shouting of slogans.
Later emerging from his house with great difficulty he came outside and asked the supporter seated on the roof of the house to come down and said he will be contesting from Puthupally.
Joshy Phillip the Kottayam district committee president assured the huge crowd that Chandy will be deciding the date when he will be filing his nomination from Puthupally.
Later the hero himself appeared before the media and said all the confusion of Nemom that the high command and state leadership has asked him to contest is baseless.
“My name has been cleared by the high command to contest from Puthupally. I had called my local leaders to come and somehow a wrong message was send out.
“I have realised that the love and affection of my electorate here and I assure all I will contest from Puthupally,” said Chandy standing among his jostling supporters.