After the BJP emerged as the single largest party in the Haryana Assembly with 40 seats, The lone winner from Haryana Lokhit Party MLA Gopal Kanda is at the heart of a massive controversy. A politician with an extremely shady past, Kanda had pledged unconditional support to the party and on Thursday, boarded a flight to Delhi to meet BJP President and Home Minister Amit Shah.
Gobind Kanda, brother of Gopal Kanda, told ANI, “2009 has repeated itself in 2019. Instead of Congress, it is BJP today, with victory on 40 seats. Gopal Kanda has left for Delhi with 6 MLAs. They will form BJP’s govt.”
Gobind Kanda, brother of Independent MLA Gopal Kanda:
2009 has repeated itself in 2019. Instead of Congress it is BJP today, with victory on 40 seats. Gopal Kanda has left for Delhi with 6 MLAs. They will form BJP’s govt. #HaryanaAssemblyPolls pic.twitter.com/RGqlEkpzuV
— ANI (@ANI) October 24, 2019
Gopal Kanda was elected to the Haryana Assembly in 2009 as Haryana Lokhit Party candidate from the Sirsa constituency. He served for a time as a Minister in the Congress-led government before resigning in the wake of criminal cases filed against him. Subsequently, he founded the Haryana Lokhit Party but lost in the 2014 Assembly ELections.
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”.
In his pursuit of Geetika Sharma, Gopal Kanda gave her out-of-turn promotions and took her on out-station trips. He pursued her till the point she quit her job and moved to Dubai. But even after that, he allegedly used pressure tactics to force her to return to rejoin MDLR and by sending out slanderous emails to various Dubai officials.
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.
Kanda has a litany of allegations against him apart from his alleged involvement in Geetika Sharma’s death. In 2010, a car owned by him was allegedly used in a rape committed by men associated with him. Next year, his security men were accused of beating up national-level cricketer Atul Wassan for overtaking the minister’s convoy.
Furthermore, Gopal Kanda and his wife face charges of tax evasion to the tune of Rs. 40 crore. Kanda’s supporters and employees were also accused of attacking income tax sleuths during a raid. In September 2018, he was booked by the Economic Offences Wing of Delhi Police in a cheating case involving one of the companies he is associated with. Gopal Kanda also faces fives cases pertaining to bouncing of cheques.
People on social media have strongly objected to the BJP entertaining the possibility of taking Gopal Kanda’s support to form the government.
If BJP takes Gopal Kanda in…I cannot support BJP anymore, this is indefensible. I will probably not support any party, but I cannot support BJP if people like Kanda are accepted. I hope @BJP4India rejects Kanda’s support. https://t.co/KgIzuZj64O
— Vishakha (@VishakhaJ18) October 25, 2019
I am disappointed with non chalance people are shrugging off Gopal Kanda he caused death of a innocent girl, let’s not, in desperation of power, become the monster we set out to slay.
— গৌরব (@doubtinggaurav) October 24, 2019
Former Union Minister Uma Bharti, too, has spoken out against Gopal Kanda and urged the BJP to shun his support. She said, “If Kanda is the same person who led to the suicide of a girl and her mother, and faces trial… whether he is innocent or guilty, the law will decide. But his winning an election does not absolve him. Several factors are involved in a poll victory.”
Reports indicate that Kanda will not be included in the BJP government in Haryana. BJP will be able to form the government in Haryana even without Gopal Kanda’s support, as they have the support of enough independent candidates. Under such circumstances, it remains to be seen what the leadership of the BJP decides on the matter.