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Chand-Fiza saga could eclipse Chander Mohan`s political fortunes

Last Updated: Friday, September 11, 2009 - 16:54

Chandigarh: Till December last year, he was the all-powerful deputy chief minister of Haryana. But his controversial "marriage" and a flip-flop break-up with lawyer Anuradha Bali aka Fiza has put a question mark over the political future of Congress leader Chander Mohan as the state goes to assembly polls next month.
Chander Mohan, who continues to remain elusive, has made a claim through his supporters for a Congress ticket from two assembly seats - Panchkula and Kalka, both adjoining state capital Chandigarh.

He is a four-time Congress legislator from the Kalka assembly seat. Under the delimitation of seats, the Kalka constituency has been bifurcated into Kalka and Panchkula seats now.

"We have received a request from Chander Mohan through his supporters for a Congress ticket from either Panchkula or Kalka. I will put up all names before the Congress leadership," Congress party observer for Panchkula district, K.P. Rana, said here.

Uncertainty prevails in the ruling Congress in Haryana over giving the party ticket to Chander Mohan for next month`s assembly elections given the controversy around his name in the "Chand-Fiza" episode.

Chander Mohan, when he was deputy chief minister, had "disappeared" from the scene October last year and re-emerged early December with a new name (Chand Mohammad), new religion (Islam) and a new wife (Fiza).

He was immediately dropped from the Bhupinder Singh Hooda government for remaining absent from work for over 40 days.

While elections to the assembly are scheduled Oct 13, the party`s selection committee, which will finalise names of party candidates for the 90 assembly seats, will meet here on Sep 18.

Top Congress leaders and close aides of the chief minister say that chances of Chander Mohan being allotted a Congress ticket are remote due to the controversy.

"The Congress will put up winning candidates. Giving him a ticket from this seat will mean sure shot defeat. We don`t want to play into the hands of the opposition. Already, his Romeo-type controversy has dented the Congress position in Kalka and Panchkula," a senior state Congress functionary told reporters.

Several names, including that of Power Minister Randeep Singh Surjewala, are doing rounds for the Panchkula seat.

Another factor that goes against Chander Mohan is that his father and former chief minister Bhajan Lal and brother Kuldip Bishnoi have formed a new political party, Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC), and are opposing the Congress in the state.

Both Bhajan Lal and Bishnoi were Congress legislator and MP, respectively, till 2007 and were expelled from the party after they floated HJC.

Chander Mohan, who last month changed his religion back to Hinduism, is said to be recovering in Hisar city in Haryana from a hip injury sustained July this year.

He was elevated as deputy chief minister in the Hooda government in March 2005, despite not having been a minister ever, to placate his father Bhajan Lal, who was pipped to the post of chief minister by present incumbent Hooda despite leading the Congress to a landslide win in the February 2005 assembly polls.

The Congress government in Haryana got the assembly dissolved seven months ahead of the end of its term and sought early assembly polls to cash in on its popularity and a weakened opposition in the state.

The Congress won nine out of the 10 Lok Sabha seats in the May general elections this year.


First Published: Friday, September 11, 2009 - 16:54

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