Congress leader Rahul Gandhi surprised party workers as well as the district police authorities here on Tuesday when he dropped in to pay homage to former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy at a condolence meeting organised by the District Congress Committee (DCC).
Mr. Gandhi, who was under treatment at Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala, was not expected at the condolence meeting, in which All India Congress Committee general secretary K.C. Venugopal, Indian Union Muslim League State president Syed Sadikali Shihab Thangal, national general secretary P.K. Kunhalikutty, MLA, and Oommen Chandy’s son Chandy Oommen were the chief guests.
However, Mr. Gandhi dropped in unexpectedly at the meeting and said that Chandy was a leader who emerged from the State’s people like a wave that emerges from the ocean.
Mr. Gandhi said that he had viewed Oommen Chandy as a leader of experience who gave him direction and understanding. “I viewed him as somebody from home, through whom I could understand the people of Kerala,” he said.
Without naming anyone, Mr. Gandhi said that the leaders of the 21st century were prone to forgetting the fact that they emerged from the people. There are many traps, distractions and dangers on the journey of political leaders, he said.
“When you emerge from the people, you get power. You can misuse that power. People praise you, and you become arrogant, and you stop listening to people. You get confused that [you start thinking that] you are the people, and you are bigger than the people. You can get trapped by corruption,” he said.
He said he worked with Oommen Chandy for around 20 years, and not once had anyone raised a complaint about him.
Mr. Gandhi said that Oommen Chandy was a leader who never tried to divide people. He was an inspiration for the youth, who wanted to follow the path he showed. This land needs leaders like Oommen Chandy, he said.
Mr. Gandhi called upon the youth in Kerala to make Oommen Chandy a model in their work.
DCC president V.S. Joy presided over the function. Mr. Venugopal, Mr. Thangal, Mr. Kunhalikutty, Matrubhumi managing director M.V. Sreyams Kumar, A.P. Anil Kumar, MLA, and Mr. Chandy Oommen spoke.