At first glance, Puthupally belies all expectations one might have of the chief minister’s home town.

At home in Puthupally much-adored Kerala CM Chandy could strut his way to victory
news Kerala Elections 2016 Saturday, April 16, 2016 - 12:24

If there’s one constituency in the state where Kerala Chief Minister Oomen Chandy always feels welcome, it is Puthupally. Puthupally is a small hill town about seven kilometers away from Kottayam, and is Chandy’s hometown. 

Besides the town, the constituency comprises 8 Panchayats including Akalakunnam, Kooroppada, Manarcad, Meenadom and Pampady – and across the constituency, Chandy is a much-loved figure, never doubted and receiving his unflinching support from his constituents.

 At first glance, Puthupally belies all expectations one might have of the chief minister’s home town. It is a rural town with small shops, has a narrow bus bay and a meagre village market. 

It almost leaves one asking if Chandy, who has been successively elected here in the past 10 elections and has represented the constituency for 45 years, has completely ignored its development.

Locals of Puthupally

But most of the Puthupally natives are almost fanatical in their admiration of Chandy, and insist that they did not want Puthupally to be transformed into a large city, and that their MLA has always been generous and helpful to them.

 According to most locals here, amidst all of his busy schedules, Chandy makes it a point to visit Puthupally almost every Saturday, and spends time meeting his voters. The visits from constituents often last until 2 am or 3 am, but the Chief Minister gives a patient ear to even the last of his visitors.

 Among the voters here, many tales of Chandy’s kindness do the rounds. Whatever the need — a job, a house, land, pensions, education, or even the troubles of emigrants to the Gulf — Puthupally locals say their last hope is their MLA.

 “I met him once at midnight to talk about sanctioning a loan for my son’s studies. He listened to me for 30 minutes and solved my problems within one month,” says a tea stall owner Chandran from Pampady.

“For us, he is the best leader we have ever met. Usually MLAs visit their constituencies only during election campaigns, but our MLA is one among us,” says another local, Thomas CK.

 Surprisingly, when this reporter visited Puthupally, there was not a single flex board or poster of Oommen Chandy, unlike other constituencies.

Chandy’s Personal Assistant, Biju, explains that the CM doesn’t need a poster campaign to win from this constituency.

“Even a three-year-old child knows Oommen Chandy, so posters are not necessary. Chandy is the only leader known to the voters, and everyone in the constituency would have met Chandy for one reason or another,” he said.

Indeed, even one local leader of a rival party, who spoke to this reporter, said that though he belongs to a different party he votes for Chandy.

And as for the recent allegations that have been made against Chandy, they seem have had no effect on his popularity here. 

 

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