BJP enlisting Gopal Kanda's support in Haryana is political turnabout at its worst: Party forgets 2012 protests as it turns to HLP chief to play saviour - LiveNow24x7: Latest News, breaking news, 24/7 news,live news

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Friday, 25 October 2019

BJP enlisting Gopal Kanda's support in Haryana is political turnabout at its worst: Party forgets 2012 protests as it turns to HLP chief to play saviour

After the fractured mandate it recieved in the Haryana Assembly elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is in talks with the chief of Haryana Lokhit Party, Gopal Goyal Kanda, a tainted MLA and a controversial figure, for his support to form the new government. Kanda, one of the eight MLAs that the BJP is looking to for support in Haryana, has turned kingmaker with one seat.

Kanda was flown in on Thursday to New Delhi, with other MLAs, for a meeting with the BJP leadership over government formation in the state. Although the BJP is the single-largest party with 40 MLAs, the party is short of at least 6 MLAs to form government. On Thursday, Kanda told reporters that he and all the Independent candidates have "decided" to extend unconditional support to the BJP.

BJP seeking Kanda's support was met with very strong opposition, not just from the Opposition parties, but also from within the BJP. Senior BJP leader and party's national vice-president Uma Bharti warned the party against depending on Kanda's support to form the government.

"We have a leader like Narendra Modi who, with this pure energy, has built the power of nationalism," tweeted Bharti, and added that winning the elections does not acquit Kanda of his alleged crimes. "I would like to request that we do not forget our moral establishment."

Facing charges under various sections — 76 and 377 (rape and sodomy), his associate Aruna Chadha was charged with 376, read with 109 (forcing someone for rape), Section 120-B criminal conspiracy read with 306 ( abetment to suicide), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation), 201 (destruction of evidence), 466 (Forgery of record), 467 (Forgery of valuable security) and 468 (Forgery for cheating), Kanda was released on bail in 2014, the same year, he contested the Haryana polls and lost.

In 2012, Kanda was arrested after Geetika Sharma, one of his employees, left suicide notes accusing him of harassment and abuse. At the time, the BJP had held protests against him, demanding his resignation as minister and his arrest. Geetika's mother also committed suicide later. Kanda was with the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) in 2009 when he decided to contest the Haryana elections. INLD refused to field him but 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. BJP had raised a huge opposition to Kanda's induction in the Hooda government.

"Look at the statements made by Narendra Modi and Amit Shah at the time Gopal Kanda was a minister in the Hooda-led government. We forced him to resign and removed from ministership. What was the BJP's stand then? The double speak of BJP lies exposed completely and shows the level of hunger for power the party has," Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said at a press conference.

In 2012, BJP held several protests against Hooda-led Congress government in Haryana after details of Kanda's involvement in various shady deals and Sharma's murder surfaced in the media. Head of BJP's IT media cell Amit Malviya in 2012 tweeted:

kanda-amitmalviya

kanda-amitmalviya1

Double-speak in politics is not new, and loyalties are bartered without a second thought if it makes political sense. However, at a time when the central leadership of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah is boasting of a "clean image" at the Centre and states (with a BJP government), seeking the support of someone who stands accused of heinous crimes in order to ratchet up numbers in the Haryana Assembly will not be taken lightly by the Opposition.

It might hurt BJP's chances in the long run. All this, however, is speculation. What we know for sure is the Janata Jannayak Party chief Dushyant Chautala is still dilly-dallying with his decision to support either BJP and Congress, the ruling party (led by Manohar Lal Khattar in the state) is banking heavily on Kanda's support.

The BJP, with 40 Assembly seats, is six short of a majority in Haryana. With the support of Kanda and seven other Independents, it is expected to make up the shortfall easily.

The hypocrisy of the decision did not go unnoticed by Twitterati. Even before Kanda formally announced support for the saffron party, Twitterati pointed out the irony of a "rape accused" emerging kingmaker for a party that started the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign.

Reports that the BJP deputed an MP to escort Kanda to Delhi for talks triggered a flurry of tweets, with Congress leaders accusing the party of "hypocrisy".

Congress and AAP leaders shared tweets with photos of Malviya protesting against Kanda.

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Owner of an airline (now defunct), two five-star hotels, two casinos, a mall, large tracts of land in Haryana and elsewhere and a sprawling castle loaded with latest gizmos and a helipad, Kanda was always willing to flaunt his wealth and was one of those "multi-millionaire" Independent candidates who supported the then Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led Congress government cobble up a majority when the party was falling short of the magic number.

Kanda continues to face trial in the air hostess suicide case, which is now in the evidence stage in a trial court. Apart from this, Kanda along with his wife Saraswati Devi, have been accused of income tax evasion to the tune of Rs 40 crore in several cheating cases. In his affidavit for the 2019 election, Kanda declared his assets, both movable and immovable, worth Rs 65.5 crore. His wife assets, according to the affidavit, was a total of over Rs 30 crore.

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Kanda has not been acquitted by any court. He is free to contest elections, but winning elections does not exonerate him, noted Bharti in one of her eight tweets addressed to the BJP leadership. Five years after his bail, Kanda is not only in the thick of a hectic political activity in Haryana again, he is enjoying the tag of a "kingmaker" and if picked by BJP, Kanda will be one of the ministers in the Manohar Lal Khattar-led Haryana government.

However, reports have quoted BJP sources as saying that nothing is confirmed about Kanda. The BJP, however, will have to rely on Kanda's support, especially since the JJP is playing hardball.



October 25, 2019 at 06:31PM

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