Thiruvananthapuram: Cutting across party lines, condolences from various leaders poured in for Kerala Congress (M) supremo and former State Finance Minister K M Mani, who died at a private hospital in Kochi Tuesday.
Mani, 86, was representing Pala constituency in the State Assembly for over five decades.
Undergoing treatment at the hospital for pulmonary disease for some days, Mani died at 4.57 PM, hospital sources said.
Expressing "deep grief" over the leader's death, Governor P Sathasivam said the senior legislator had earned the people's unstinted support through welfare measures like pension for farmers and Karunya Lottery Benevolent scheme.
"That he 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," he said in his condolence message.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the death was an "irreparable loss" not only to KC(M) but to the entire state.
"Mani was a leader who had won the love and respect of everyone in and outside the Assembly, cutting across party lines.
He had shown special focus in presenting the issues of public interest especially the issues of farmers in the House," he said.
Terming Mani as an "eminent legislator", Vijayan also said he was a political leader who used to present the issues of the state after studying them thoroughly.
Vijayan said with Mani, who was a member of the state legislature for 54 years, had created a place for himself in world parliamentary politics.
"This is a record which no other legislator in the state assembly could boast of," Vijayan said in a statement.
Senior Congress leader K C Venugopal described Mani as an all-time "tall leader" of the Congress-led United Democratic Front and the "doyen" of State politics.
"Mani was a leader who had created history in parliamentary politics. Though he had stayed away from the UDF for a brief while, his heart was always with the front," he said.
Paying tributes to the departed leader, BJP state president P S Sreedharan Pillai said Mani was a politician who was a model to future generations.
Mani's party colleague and senior KC-M leader, P J Joseph said the death was a "big loss" to Kerala politics.
Whatever positions he had held in his decades-long political career, Pala, his constituency which he had represented in the state assembly,had a special place in his mind, Joseph said.
Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan remembered Mani who had actively participated in the businesses of the state assembly even during the last session.