Controversial former deputy chief minister of Haryana and Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) leader Chander Mohan may be away from politics, but he definitely enjoys a stronghold not only in his own party but among BJP leaders as well.
The power the four-time MLA from Kalka holds can be judged from the fact that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who had earlier contested their own candidates for the Municipal Corporation elections from some wards in Panchkula, gave tickets to his supporters later.
He may not be campaigning openly, but is seen calling supporters to extend their support to BJP-HJC backed candidates.
Chander Sharma, who was a BJP candidate from ward no 19 comprising Sectors 23 to 28 and Nadda, Bana, Madanpur, and Jaisingh Pura villages, stepped down and instead decided to extend support to Anil Pangotra, who is the secretary of Chander Mohan and is fighting elections as an independent.
Similarly, from ward no 12, which comprises Sectors 15 and industrial area phase 2, the BJP had announced Shiv Kumar Gupta as its official candidate, but later due to Chander Mohan's preference for Sunil Talwar, the BJP decided to name Talwar as an official candidate.
“I have blessings of Chander Mohan which is why I have got the BJP ticket. He will not campaign but has been asking people to support me,” Talwar said.
The BJP had also announced Sunita Goyal as its candidate from ward no 10 which is reserved for women and comprises Sectors 9, 16 and 17, but later it named Geeta Kapoor, wife of VK Kapoor, who is considered close to Chander Mohan.
The BJP again decided to support another Chander Mohan supporter Dalbir Singh, whose wife, Sudesh Rani, is contesting from ward no 11, reserved for scheduled caste women and comprises Indira Colony, Rajiv Colony and Budhanpur.
Similarly, Rajinder Saketri, who is an independent from ward no 7 that covers Gumthala, Chowki, Kharag Mangoli and Bir Ghagghar villages also claims loyalty to Chander Mohan.
Gian Chand Gupta, state treasurer, BJP said: “The decision to announce Geeta Kapoor and Sunil Talwar as BJP candidates was taken later after the HJC intervened. We are also supporting their two other candidates.”
Vishal Seth, district BJP president, when contacted said: “We have decided to support HJC candidates as there is a state-wide alliance with them.”
However, despite repeated attempts Chander Mohan could not be contacted.