National

Gopal Kanda’s support to BJP triggers row over his past

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on October 25, 2019

Gopal Kanda, president, Haryana Lokhit Party   -  THE HINDU

Sirsa MLA’s support to the party in Haryana invites criticism from all fronts

The promise of support to Manohar Lal Khattar by Gopal Kanda, Haryana Lokhit Party leader, and accused in abetment of a young woman’s suicide, invited a lot of criticism for the BJP from within the party, alliance partner Shiv Sena and the opposition on Saturday.

Kanda flew into Delhi late on Friday and told reporters that he was leading all independent candidates in their support to the BJP, which was six short of majority in the 90-member Haryana Assembly when the election results were announced.

The BJP has 40 seats in a hung Assembly, the Congress has 31 seats. Dushyant Chautala’s Jannayak Janta Party has 10 MLAs and Indian National Lok Dal one.

The BJP has received the support of Kanda, the lone MLA from his party, and seven independents to cross the majority mark in the 90-member House.

Kanda boasted of his ties with the ruling party. “My family is connected with the RSS since 1926. My father was connected with the BJP,” said Kanda, who has been elected from Sirsa.

Kanda said he and some independents have talked to senior BJP leaders. He claimed that some top Congress leaders also approached them, “but we decided to support the BJP”.

The flashback

The visuals of him flying in with other independent legislators were contrasted on social media with the protests that the BJP had staged in 2012 when as Home Minister in Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s Cabinet, Kanda had been charged with abetment to suicide of a young airhostess named Geetika Sharma.

Geetika had named Kanda as her oppressor in a suicide note. Six months later, even her mother committed suicide. The case had attracted a lot of media attention and the Congress was forced to sack Kanda who became a political liability. But his joining the pack of legislators supporting the BJP spurred the Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala into accusing the ruling party of hypocrisy.

“I think you should look at the statements made by Narendra Modi and Amit Shah at the time when Gopal Kanda was a minister in the government in Haryana, when we forced him to resign after registration of a case and also removed him from ministership,” said Surjewala.

BJP leader and former Minister Uma Bharati publicly advised her party against accepting Kanda’s support.

Priyanka Chaturvedi, spokesperson for the Shiv Sena, said, “Women are near 50 per cent of India’s population. They have been coming out in large numbers to vote. Women are stakeholders in parties that come to power. If we disregard their sentiments and sacrifice it at the altar of politics and power, there is a price that will have to be paid in due course.”

Published on October 25, 2019

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