In what has all the ingredients of a melodramatic Bollywood flick, Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Chander Mohan was sacked on Sunday following his second marriage to a long-time friend after conversion to Islam.
Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda removed his deputy, who had not been seen in public for more than a month, immediately after he appeared on Star News on Sunday to announce that he had converted to Islam and married his friend, Anuradha Bali. Chander Mohan, son of former Chief Minister Bhajan Lal, changed his name to Chand Mohammad. Bali, a former Assistant Advocate General of the State Government, also converted to Islam and changed her name to Fiza.
This is probably the first incident of its kind in the country where a deputy chief minister has been sacked for his second marriage. Hooda, however, told Hindustan Times that Chander Mohan was dropped from the Cabinet due to his long absence.
“He has not been seen for the past several weeks and was not taking interest in his work. The work was suffering,” he said.
Though no one from his family was available, there are indications that they were strongly opposed to his second marriage.
Bhajan Lal and his younger son Kuldeep Bishnoi, who was MP from Bhiwani, had rebelled against the Congress and formed their own party, the Haryana Janhit Congress, in December 2007. Chander Mohan, however, stayed back in the Congress. His wife Seema Bishnoi refused to comment on the development.
Announcing his allegiance to Islam, Chander Mohan told the TV channel that it did not matter whether he would be able to retain his position or not. “What is more important is that you are with the one you love. All these positions are not always there. If it is my luck, I will get it again,” he said.