Haryana polls: Tainted MLA Kanda is kingmaker for BJP

NEW DELHI: Gopal Kanda, an accused in the suicide of an air hostess and her mother, has become the kingmaker for the BJP in Haryana where the party is struggling to form government after being restricted short of majority.

Once in news for allegedly forcing two women to commit suicide, former Haryana minister Gopal Goyal Kanda has found his way back to the front pages, except that this time a school drop-out turned business tycoon has returned as a ”kingmaker” for the ”world”s largest party” – BJP.

As Kanda offers “unconditional support” to the BJP in Haryana, that fell six short of the halfway mark in the northern state, along with seven other independents to BJP, here”s a look back at the legacy of BJP”s kingmaker in Haryana.

Born in December 1965, Kanda dropped out of school before he could complete Class 10. Considered close to Chautala, when the latter became Haryana chief minister in 1999, Kanda”s fortunes changed.

In 2005, Kanda who was by then a ”land king” in Haryana started ”MDLR Airlines”, named after his father Murli Dhar and son Lakhpat Ram. This is when it is said he met Geetika Sharma, in whose suicide case he is now an accused.

It was just after six months of Geetika”s death, her mother killed herself too, blaming Kanda and his aide for abetting her daughter”s suicide. Kanda is accused in this case as well.

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Interestingly, it was BJP”s women wing (mahila morcha) in 2012 who wanted him arrested for abetting suicide of Geetika Sharma. It in fact, had protested on the streets of Sirsa, holding placards and chanting anti-Kanda slogans. Amit Malviya, who is now BJP”s IT cell chief, had also launched attack on Kanda and the then Congress government.

“Gopal Goyal Kanda epitomises everything the Congress stands for!,” Malviya had tweeted.

The result of the protest by the BJP was that Kanda remained underground for 10 days before he surrendered and was arrested on charges of rape, abetment to suicide, criminal conspiracy and criminal intimidation.

Kanda remained in jail for a year and a half and was granted bail in March 2014 after the charge of rape was dropped by the Delhi High Court.

“I”m ending myself today because I”m shattered inside. My trust has been broken and I”m being cheated. Two people responsible for my death is Aruna Chadha and Gopal Goyal Kanda. Both of them have broken my trust and misused me for their own benefits,” the first para of suicide note by Sharma had read.

Today, the same saffron party needs his help to form the government in the state after falling short of the majority mark by six seats.

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Kanda, who walked into the political arena as a “strongman” aide of Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader Ajay Chautala, had split in 2009 and defeated INLD”s candidate Padam Jain by a margin of 6,521 votes.

He later extended support to the Hooda-led Congress government that had come to power for the second time in the state and was rewarded a cabinet berth.

However, in 2014 when Kanda entered the then assembly election with his own outfit – the Haryana Lokhit Party (HLP), he would have never imagined that his all the 75 candidates of HLP including Kanda himself, will taste a defeat so badly that all of them will trail on votes tally while two of his party would even end up losing their deposits.

But, the 2014 nightmare for the politician-cum-businessman might just come to conclusion now and if all goes right then Kanda might see a bright morning ahead, as sources have told IANS, that eight independent MLAs led by Kanda have already sealed a deal with the top leadership of the BJP.

Lawmaker Kanda and his wife Saraswati Devi are currently also facing allegations of income tax evasion of Rs 40 crore. While Kanda himself is dealing with five cases pertaining to bouncing of cheques.

(Rohan Agarwal can be contacted at Rohan.a@ians.in)

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