Gopal Kanda, the Haryana Lokhit Party (HLP) chief and a much talked about Haryana MLA after the conclusion of the 2019 Assembly Elections, had extended support to BJP for the formation of the government which had created substantial outrage. However, while the BJP has now decided to form the government with the support of JJP, it is notable that Congress had extended support to Gopal Kanda in an attempt to form the government in Haryana.
In an interview to Indian Express, Bhupinder Singh Hooda had said, “The mandate of the people of Haryana is against the state government. I have already appealed to the entire Opposition that the people’s mandate should be respected and we should all join hands — whether it is the JJP, INLD, independents or Kanda’s HLP. Let us see how they respond”.
It is clear from the statement of Bhupinder Singh Hooda that Congress had approached Gopal Kanda for extending support to Congress for the formation of government in Haryana.
From what followed, it is only logical to assume to Gopal Kanda had refused to extend support to Congress but extended support to BJP instead. BJP has won 40 seats in the 90 seat assembly in Haryana, while the newly formed JJP won 10 seats. Congress won 31 seats, independents 7, while INLD and Haryana Lokhit Party won 1 seat each.
Interestingly, while Congress had reached out to Gopal Kanda for support, Congress had slammed the BJP for ‘accommodating rapists’ in the party. The BJP had notably never said that they would be accepting the support of Kanda when these statements were made. Kanda had, however, extended support to BJP.
Before the alliance with JJP was announced, Kanda and several other independent MLAs had extended their support to BJP and the support of Kanda had created a massive controversy. However, BJP forming an alliance with Dushyant Chautala led JJP takes their tally up to 50, thus enabling them to form the government comfortably without the help of Kanda.
Kanda was arrested in 2012 in the Geetika Sharma suicide case. The airline hostess had committed suicide and accused him of harassment in her suicide note and “misusing her”. She was employed at Gopal Kanda’s now-defunct MDLR Airlines. She had accused Kanda of being a “fraud” and a “shameless” man with “bad intentions” towards girls and said that he has “no shame and no guilt”. She said she had trusted Kanda and his aides but that was “costing” her “life”.
Six months after Geetika Sharma’s death, her mother had committed suicide by hanging herself in the same room as her daughter. Gopal Kanda, meanwhile, was charged with rape, abetment to suicide and ‘unnatural sex’. The rape charges were later dropped. He remained in jail for a year and a half and was granted bail in 2014 after the charges of rape were dropped. He continues to face trial in the case which is now at the evidence stage.
The BJP has offered the Deputy CM post to JJP, while the BJP has retained the Chief Minister position with ML Khattar all set to return as the Chief Minister of Haryana.