Former Haryana minister Gopal Kanda being in jail did not deter his supporters to celebrate his 48th birthday. Though this year, the usual pomp and show was missing from the function.
Kanda has been in jail for allegedly abetting the suicide of Geetika Sharma, former airhostess in his now-defunct MDLR Airlines.
The function organised at Tara Baba Memorial Trust here on Saturday started with 'havan', followed by a blood donation camp, an eye check-up camp and distribution of tri-cycles to physically handicapped people. Unlike the glitz of previous years, the celebrations remained limited to religious discourse and public welfare activities.
The Rania road leading to Kanda's palatial house was dotted with banners and billboards carrying the message of Sirsa legislator's well being. Politicians praised Kanda, describing him as a "brave, honest and dedicated social worker". Among those present were minister of state for labour and employment Shiv Charan Lal Sharma, Fatehabad legislator Prahalad Singh Gillankhera, former minister OP Jain, former parliamentarian Sushil Indora and Congress committee district president Malkiyat Singh Khosa.
The Sirsa parliamentarian, Ashok Tanwar, and the chief minister's officer on special on duty (media), KV Singh, did not attend the ceremony in spite of being in the city.
Sharma said, "Kanda is a religious person. Hurdles do come in life but he will be exonerated of all charges. He will bounce back." Gillankhera was equal praise for Kanda. "The future belongs to Kanda as he will come clean. People jealous of his popularity have hatched a conspiracy to implicate him," he said.
Gobind Kanda stopped short of praising his brother and but did make a political statement. "The Haryana chief minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, has ensured all-round development of the state," he said, adding that Kandas would weather the 'storm' and continue to serve people of the district.