The speed at which Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy moves and works has finally taken a toll on his health and has virtually grounded him. His family members and aides say he is in great pain following his casual approach to an old injury.
Confined to a wheel chair for a few days at his official residence, 68-year-old Chandy was seen using a walker when he appeared to address a news conference a few days ago. All his official programmes stand cancelled till Sep 25.
It all began when he slipped on the ice at Davos in 2006 and had to undergo emergency surgery there. He was attending the World Economic Forum in his first outing as chief minister. Since then Chandy's free movement has been restricted and his doctors' advice to use special footwear was also ignored by him.
"He hardly listens to anyone, not even his family nor his close aides when it comes to taking a cautious approach to his old hip injury. We are all deeply saddened to see him in pain," a close family member told IANS, not wishing to be identified for fear of inviting the ire of the chief minister for speaking to the media.
His present discomfort began when he slipped and fell while attending a public function at Kochi recently.
"Here again, he did not seek proper medical advice and instead opted for something which he felt would give him a quick relief. That has now left him in greater pain. He is now under the treatment of specialised doctors and they have told him that they will see that he is back in action quickly. He is on a heavy dose of medicines, including pain killers," a close Chandy aide, who also did not want to be named, told IANS.
His penchant for working non-stop for more than 17-18 hours a day and that too standing most of the time, as was seen during the three-day Emerging Kerala meet that ended last Friday, took a heavy toll. He was first down with fever and then came the injury to his leg.
"Even when he has been convalescing at his home for the past nearly one week, he meets more than 300 to 400 people every day who come to him seeking solace. He does not listen to anyone and gets angry when someone reminds him of his ill-health," said the aide.
And he is even more upset because ever since he became a legislator in 1970 from his home constituency Puthupally in Kottayam, it's customary for him to be at his ancestral home every Sunday where he holds the weekly durbar with a minimum of 300 people always around him.
"The calls from his constituency have increased in the past few days and they only want to know if he is coming this Sunday as he has committed to numerous small and big meetings there," the aide added.
(Sanu George can be contacted at email@example.com)