A sudden downpour on Tuesday evening was quite a surprise and came as a welcome relief for the people of Kochi who had been sweating heavily under the scorching summer heat for the past few weeks. But news coming out from the city’s Lakeshore hospital around the same time about the demise of Congress veteran KM Mani came as a dampener.
Hundreds of people, both supporters of Congress and residents of Kochi, thronged to the hospital to see their beloved leader for one last time.
The party supporters who were waiting to see their ‘Mani Sir’ fought hard to control their emotions. Jose K Mani, son of KM Mani, who came to meet the party leaders at the hospital, broke down in tears while talking to Congress leader Jonhy Nellore.
The body of KM Mani was brought into the wide space near the hospital reception where arrangements were made for the public to pay homage.
With the crowd jostling for space to get a glimpse of Mani Sir, police officials and the hospital administration had a hard time trying to keep the emotional crowd under check.
KM Mani's body was kept for public viewing inside the hospital for about half an hour.
The veteran leader was under treatment at the hospital for the past few days for chest infection. Though he was said to be in a critical condition, he had improved by Tuesday morning with doctors saying that he was recovering. But by evening, his condition worsened and he passed away at around 5pm.
According to political experts, the death of KM Mani marks the end of a significant chapter in the history of Kerala politics. The veteran leader was the longest serving member of the Kerala Legislative Assembly and also the longest serving state minister.
KM Mani also has the unique credit of presenting the state budget 13 times as the Finance Minister of Kerala.
The veteran leader was born to Thomas Mani and Aleyamma Mani in January 1933. Before his foray into politics, he had worked as an advocate in Kozhikode and Kottayam.
KM Mani’s mortal remains will be kept at Lakeshore hospital till 9am on Wednesday, after which his body will be taken to Kottayam in a procession.
The funeral will be conducted on Thursday at St Thomas Cathedral Church in Pala, Mani's native place.