Condolences continue to pour in from across the country for KM Mani, the veteran politician, who led a long, distinguished inning in the state and passed away earlier Tuesday at the age of 86.
Chairman of the Kerala Congress (M) and the longest-serving legislator in Kerala, Mani guided his small party, rooted in the Catholic Christian politics of central Kerala, through numerous ups and downs. Although he worked closely with the Congress and Left camps at different points in time, he remained with the Congress-led camp as it’s staunch ally in the last two decades. As finance and revenue minister, the policies he shaped defined the journey of Kerala as a welfare state.
Leaders from all sides of the political divide condoled the death of Mani. Here are some of the reactions:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on Twitter: “Shri KM Mani was a stalwart of Kerala politics. His impeccable electoral record indicated his deep connect with the citizens of the state. His rich contribution to the state will be remembered. Pained by his demise. Condolences to his family and supporters. RIP.”
Tamil Nadu Governor P Sathasivam wrote: “Deeply grieved by the sad demise of Shri K M Mani, senior legislator and former Minister who earned the unstinted support of the people through welfare measures like pension for farmers, Karunya Lottery Benevolent Scheme etc.,”
“That KM Mani holds the record for continuously representing the Pala constituency since 1965 and presenting maximum number of State budgets, evince the acceptance he had earned through his work as a statesman. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family” the governor wrote in another tweet.
Jose K Mani, Rajya Sabha MP and his son said: “Achachan has left us forever. He was under treatment at Lakeshore Hospital in Kochi for a few days and his condition became critical in the evening. He passed away. At this moment, I feel a sense of emptiness. It feels as if all the courage he gave me is slipping away. I feel alone in life. Achachan, who guided me by my hand, is no more. He was a sea of love and tenderness. Even in politics, he was present in every breath of the Kazhinkozhackal family. With a touch of love for us.”
Former CM Oommen Chandy also mourned over the loss. “It’s a big loss for Kerala as Mani remained as large as ever in the state’s politics. For a long period of life, I had personal and political bonds with him. When I was in the cabinet four times as a minister, he was there. When I was the chief minister, he handled finance and law portfolios. In the state Assembly, I have spent the last 49 years and he’s been with me all these years. He’s not just a friend and a colleague. He was a leader who imparted self-confidence in me,” he said.
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan tweeted: “Deeply saddened to learn of the passing of veteran politician Shri KM Mani. He was a tall leader who worked tirelessly to serve our State. His demise is a loss to the political life of Kerala. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues.”