Out of sight Chand, out of mind in Haryana politics

April 24th, 2009 - 2:41 pm ICT by IANS  

By Alkesh Sharma
Panchkula (Haryana), April 24 (IANS) He made national headlines when he fell in love. Just months after having fallen out of love, no one really is bothered about him - politically or otherwise. Haryana’s elusive former Deputy Chief Minister Chander Mohan alias Chand Mohammed is not even being sought by his own party, the Congress, for the Lok Sabha elections.

Mohan, who lost his high-profile job as the state’s deputy chief minister to get a new wife in Fiza alias Anuradha Bali, a new name (Chand Mohammed), a new religion (Islam) and a new home when he married her secretly late last year, has remained away from India and Haryana’s politics ever since he walked out of his newly married life this January.

Though Chand had told the Punjab police through a fax message that he would return to India in April, no one really knows when he will actually return from London where he is supposed to be.

The police had summoned him after his estranged wife Fiza charged him with rape, cheating and criminal intimidation following his desertion.

Even his own party workers and Fiza do not know his exact whereabouts.

“We don’t know the whereabouts of Chand Mohammed and we are not even trying to trace him. If he has chosen to abstain from active politics then we cannot do anything,” Surender Singh Hooda, press secretary of the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee, told IANS.

Chander Mohan continues to be the sitting Congress legislator from Kalka adjoining Chandigarh. He has been elected from there four times in a row.

Almost sounding as if the Haryana Congress did not require the services of the former deputy chief minister, Hooda added: “It is his personal matter and the Congress party does not want to interfere in it. Moreover, we are not at all dependent on him and our work is going on smoothly without him.”

Union minister of state Selja is contesting from the Ambala (reserved) Lok Sabha constituency of which the Kalka assembly segment is an important part.

Hooda added that the Congress had dedicated leaders and workers in Kalka to run the party’s show and Chander Mohan’s absence was hardly of concern.

All of his past wins to the Kalka seat are now being attributed to his father and former Haryana Chief Minister Bhajan Lal’s towering presence in Haryana politics.

But Chander Mohan’s long absence from Kalka and this district headquarter town that is considered a stronghold of the Congress has given hope to Congress opponents, who are trying to make a big issue out of the situation.

Chand’s political rival in Kalka, Pradeep Chaudhary of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), said: “Chand is an MLA only on paper but in reality he is far away from Kalka and the masses. As an MLA, he is of no use as he is unaware of his area’s problems and common man’s misery.”

Chaudhary said that the Congress will suffer the consequences of Chander Mohan’s recent controversies and his absence.

Chand, 43, and Fiza, 37, had mysteriously disappeared in November last year and after over 40 days re-appeared as a married couple with changed names, having embraced Islam.

However, Chander Mohan suddenly left Fiza’s house Jan 28 and has not communicated with her after that. Later he just called her and sent an SMS divorcing her (saying and sending SMS with ‘Talaq’ three times).

“We cannot trust Chand’s commitment. He is deceiving everyone and police are working hand in glove with him. How can I tell where he is and when he will return? I have decided to fight for justice till the end,” Fiza told IANS.

“Chand’s family members are sending me life threats but police are not doing anything. That is why I have also moved a complaint in court against police’s inaction and seeking registration of FIR (first information report) against Chand,” said Fiza, a former assistant advocate general in Haryana.

Rohit Mahajan, lawyer of Fiza, said: “There are reports that Chand has reached Delhi and any time he can return to Haryana. We think that he will not come out in the open till the elections are over.”

The police in Mohali, where Fiza lives, gave a clean chit to Chand after Fiza’s complaint against him.

(Alkesh Sharma can be contacted at alkesh.s@ians.in)

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