Chandigarh 25 Oct 2019: Six short of a majority in Harynana with 40 assembly seats, BJP’s plan to retain power revolves around independent MLAs and the man BJP depends to hatch this plan is Gopal Kanda, a controversial independent MLA from Sirsi who was once a foe of saffron party. But political analysts point out the journey in power along with Gopal Kanda, a controversial politician, may not be peaceful one for BJP in Haryana.
BJP leaders in Delhi think that the support of Mr Kanda and five other independents will make up the shortfall easily. Gopal Kanda, the chief of the Haryana Lokhit Party, was reportedly among the MLAs flown to Delhi for a meeting with the BJP leadership last evening by a BJP MP, Sunita Duggal.
Mr Kanda, who won from the Sirsa assembly seat by a margin of 602 votes, met with BJP working president JP Nadda till late on Thursday in Delhi. A photo of Gopal Kanda and independent MLA Ranjeet Singh in a special flight was in circulation on Thursday evening, hours after it became clear that Haryana would end up with a hung assembly.
Before he took the flight from the Indian Air Force (IAF) station in Haryana, Mr Kanda told reporters that he would support the party that would work for the development of Sirsa, his home base, from where he has won.
Gopal Kanda has a chequered past of many controversies and a one year long jail term. Gopal Kanda who was a minister in then Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda's cabinet forced to resign after he was accused of abetting the suicide of an air hostess who worked for his aviation company in 2012. In the case he was arrested and later jailed. He was let off on bail in 2014. The same year, he contested the Haryana polls and lost.
The 53-year-old businessman-politician's turnaround from a neck-deep debt to wealth and power was a like a fable. He rebuilt his fortune after venturing into the real estate business in 1998. In 2007, the centre asked the Haryana government to investigate him after he was caught in his car with four wanted criminals.
Mr Kanda was associated with the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) when he decided to contest the Haryana election in 2009. When the INLD did not field him, he contested as an independent candidate and won. With the Hooda-led Congress falling short of a majority, he helped them and became a minister. By that time, he already had his own airline - MDLR - by then.
The black mark in Kanda’s life came in the form of a suicide by Geetika Sharma, one of his employees. She left suicide notes accusing him of harassment. At the time, the BJP held protests against him, demanding his resignation as minister and his arrest. Geetika's mother also committed suicide later.
In 2016, Mr Kanda and his brother Govind were charged for alleged illegal property development in Sirsa. Mr Kanda's brother Gobind Kanda told reporters that their Haryana Lokhit Party is in touch with five more MLAs who would extend their "unconditional support" to the ruling party.