From Chautala aide to 'kingmaker': Who is Gopal Kanda
New Delhi, Oct 25: Sirsa MLA Gopal Kanda and seven other legislators have agreed to support the BJP which fell six seats short of the majority mark needed to form government in Haryana. With the support of Kanda and at least seven others, ML Khattar will take oath as Haryana chief minister for the second time.
Haryana got a fractured mandate, resulting in a hung Assembly, with the BJP winning 40 seats, Congress 31, JJP 10, independents 8 and INLD one.
Initially, it emerged that the JJP would be the kingmaker, and its chief Dushyant Chautala demanded the CM post in exchange for support.
Kanda and other 5 MLAs boarded a charted plane and reached Delhi yesterday.
"All independent candidates have extended their unconditional support to BJP. My father was associated with RSS since 1926, fought 1st general elections of the country after independence on Jansangh ticket," ANI quoted Kanda as saying.
Gopal Kanda is a controversial politician. He was once the target of BJP protests. He was in 2012 accused of abetting the suicide of an air hostess who worked for his aviation company. He was a minister in then Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda's cabinet.
According to reports, Kanda, in 2012, was arrested after one of his employees left suicide notes accusing him of harassment. Her suicide note read that she was being harassed and misused. At the time, the BJP held protests against him, demanding his resignation as minister and his arrest. Victim's mother also committed suicide later.
Kanda was with the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) 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 had enough leverage to become a minister.
Kanda and his wife also face allegations of income tax evasion of almost Rs 40 crore, say reports. He also reportedly has 5 other cases against him about bounced cheques.
The results of Haryana Assembly Elections 2019 was declared on Thursday and both, the BJP and the Congress, fell short of the majority mark of 47 in the 90-member legislative assembly. With JJP winning 10 seats, Dushyant Chautala's support would be the key to government formation. Also, there are seven independents whose support could become a significant factor.