Who is Gopal Kanda? MLA who holds key to BJP’s second term in power in Haryana

In the Haryana Assembly Elections 2019, Gopal Kanda won from the Sirsa seat by a slender margin of 602 votes.

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"My family is connected with RSS since 1926. My father was connected with the BJP," said Gopal Kanda

Amid hectic parleys over government formation in Haryana after election results threw up a hung assembly, Independent candidate and controversial political leader Gopal Kanda has offered his “unconditional” support to the BJP. Kanda also claimed that all the Independent candidates have extended their support to the BJP as he has turned kingmaker with one seat.

“My family is connected with RSS since 1926. My father was connected with the BJP,” said Kanda, adding that he met the party functionaries earlier in the day.

Assembly Elections 2019: Full Coverage

The ruling BJP emerged as the largest party with 40 seats, six short of the halfway figure needed to form the government while the Congress bagged 31 seats. With no real clear winner, the fractured mandate cleared the decks for hectic efforts by both the BJP and the Congress to woo the seven independents and the Jannayak Janta Party with 10 seats as they together hold the key to power in the state.

Who is Gopal Kanda?

The Haryana Lokhit Party chief has a tainted political career. In 2012, he resigned from Cabinet minister post in former Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda government after he was arrested on charges of abetting the suicide and criminal intimidation of an air hostess Geetika Sharma employed with his aviation company, MDLR airline. Geetika Sharma committed suicide and left two suicide notes, accusing Kanda of harassment. A year later, Geetika’s mother also committed suicide in the same manner as her daughter’s.

Before joining politics, Kanda had tried his hands in several failed businesses like real estate, shoe business, and car dealership before he recovered from steep losses and rebuilt his fortune as a real estate developer in Gurgaon in 1998. His influence in politics grew alongside. In 2007, the Centre asked the Haryana government to investigate him when he was caught in the company of four wanted criminals. In 2016, he was charged for alleged tax evasion and cheating.

Also Read | Haryana govt formation Live: Uma Bharti warns BJP against support from Gopal Kanda to form govt

He finally entered politics in 2009 when he decided to contest the Haryana Assembly election in 2009 as an Independent candidate and emerged the winner.

In the Haryana Assembly Election results 2019, Kanda won from the Sirsa seat by a slender margin of 602 votes.

Kanda and another Independent Ranjeet Singh were flown to Delhi in a chartered plane by Sirsa MP Sunita Duggal. He met with BJP working president JP Nadda late on Thursday evening in Delhi. The BJP has drawn wide criticism for seeking support from Kanda. Questions are also being raised on the credibility of NDA government’s ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign after Kanda’s role in the government formation came to light.

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