Kochi:Veteran politician and Kerala Congress-Mani Chairman K.M. Mani, who never lost an Assembly election since 1967, passed away at a private hospital here on Tuesday.
Mani was suffering from a lung ailment and was in the hospital for the past one week. He had been unwell since January.
Announcing the death, a doctor told the media that Mani's condition turned worse after 11.30 a.m. on Tuesday and he died at 4.57 p.m.
Mani joined the undivided Kerala Congress in 1965 and went on to become its undisputed leader. Over the years, his party underwent several splits.
Mani's record of being the longest-serving legislator in the Kerala Assembly began in 1967 when he represented his home constituency Pala in Kottayam district -- from where he won a record 13 elections.
He often used to say that he has two wives: one is Kuttiyama and the other is Pala.
Although he won his first election in 1965, the Assembly was not convened and so he was not sworn-in. Two years later he became a legislator for the first time -- and remained so for 52 long years.
Mani first became a state Minister in 1975 in the C. Achutha Menon cabinet and since then he sat in the cabinets of E.K. Nayanar, P.K. Vasudevan Nair, C.H. Mohammed Koya, K. Karunakaran, A.K. Antony and Oommen Chandy.
He holds the state record of having presented 13 budgets.
He is survived by his wife, son Jose K. Mani, a Rajya Sabha member, and five daughters.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said Mani's death had eft Kerala grieving.
"He was certainly a very tall politician and is going to be missed in Kerala politics. He had proved his mettle in his job as a very effective minister," he said.