Gopal Kanda: From kingmaker to also-ran

Haryana Lokhit Party leader Gopal Kanda. Photo/Twitter (@gopalkandahlp)

From a kingmaker in the government formation in Haryana to an also-ran, the circle of fate came a full circle for controversial legislator Gopal Kanda in less than 24 hours.

As BJP fell short of numbers in Haryana in the assembly poll results declared on Thursday, focus turned on Kanda, the lone legislator of the Haryana Lokhit Party, who was escorted to Delhi by BJP leader Sunita Duggal along with an Independent legislator Ranjeet Singh.

Kanda also was learnt to have a direct line to more Independent legislators, whose support was crucial for the formation of the new government in Haryana.

No sooner did Kanda's photographs on a charter jet with Duggal went viral, some uneasy truths of his past began tumbling out of the closet. 

Congress leaders hit out at the BJP for seeking the support of Kanda, an accused in the rape and abetment to a suicide case of an air hostess, the saffron party had opposed tooth-and-nail in 2012.

Incidentally, in 2009 it was the then Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who was short of majority, who too had leaned on Kanda for support in forming the government.

Hooda had appointed Kanda as a minister in his government but had to quit after an air hostess in the airline run by him, accused him of harassment in her suicide note in 2012. Kanda was arrested soon and had to quit as a minister.

On Friday, Kanda met BJP leaders in Delhi political leaders slammed the ruling party for seeking the support of a tainted person to form the government.

Senior BJP leader Uma Bharti also listed out some home truths to the party leadership.

Bharti, who is undertaking a journey along the Ganga, asked the BJP not to forget its moral foundations and ensure that those who align with the party were as “clean and spotless as BJP workers”.

As the day progressed, the BJP also got some positive signals from Dushyant Chautala's Jananayak Janata Party (JJP) that has 10 legislators, in addition to winning over five Independents, most of whom were BJP rebels. In doing so, the BJP appears to have ensured that Kanda's support may not be necessary for the survival of the Haryana government.

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