The Indian Police on Wednesday revealed that they had launched a manhunt for India’s only 'Happiness Minister'' after the state politician vanished when a court order for his arrest was issued over an alleged murder.
The Minister of Enjoyment, Lal Singh Arya whose only mandate is to put smiles on the faces of his 70 million constituents, is wanted in connection with an alleged murder of an opposition politician in 2009.
In January, Madhya Pradesh became the first state in India to create a happiness ministry, making headlines with the appointment of Arya to head this rosy department.
But the 53-year-old from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party disappeared without a trace after a court in Bhind district issued a non-bailable warrant for his arrest over an alleged connection to the murder.
Local police told AFP that they were “hopeful” of arresting Arya before he is scheduled to appear in court on December 19.
“Police teams are still looking for him. We are positive that we will track him down by then", Prashant Khare, police superintendent in Bhind told AFP by phone.
The Press Trust of India reported that the Police launched the hunt for the minister on Tuesday when he was not found at his residence.
Arya was tasked by the state in January with responsibility for “the happiness and tolerance of its citizens”.
The Happy Ministry is modelled on the “gross national happiness” index used by India’s northerly neighbour Bhutan as a measure of its success.
Madhya Pradesh hopes for its own such “happiness index” and has promised social programs including yoga, meditation and free religious pilgrimages for senior citizens.
The state’s chief minister said in January that the ministry would even “rope in psychologists to counsel people on how to be always happy”.
Guess this is where Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State got his ‘Enjoyment Minister’ ideology.