Gopal Kanda, the controversial Haryana Lokhit Party (HLP) legislator, will not be a part of the Haryana government after all.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has said it will form an alliance with Dushyant Chautala’s Jannayak Janata Party (JJP), which has 10 MLAs, to form a government in Haryana.
The BJP could not live up to its campaign slogan—Abki Baar 75 Paar (this time it will be over 75 seats)—as the party was restricted to only 40 seats. The required figure is 46 in the 90-member state assembly.
That is when Gopal Kanda stepped in to help the BJP with the numbers. The influential politician and businessman was among the seven Independent candidates—five BJP rebels and two others—to promise support Manohar Lal Khattar.
The BJP, however, came under attack from several quarters including its national vice president Uma Bharti, who put a spanner with a series of tweets cautioning the party about taking Kanda’s support citing the charges of abetment to suicide against him in the death of an air hostess.
Here’s what you need to know about Gopal Kanda:
* Gopal Kanda had once been a kingmaker. He had helped Bhupinder Singh Hooda form the government by lending his support after the 2009 assembly polls when the Congress fell short of a simple majority. He was rewarded with a ministerial berth by Hooda and was given the home portfolio as a minister of state.
* He was was forced to tender his resignation from the Council of Ministers in 2013 after being named by his former employee, Geetika Sharma, in her suicide note.
* A one-time shoe merchant from Sirsa, an owner of an airlines company and a realtor, Kanda is known to have friends across party lines.
* The Intelligence Wing of Haryana police prepared a dossier on Gopal Kanda during the Congress rule in 2005 which talked about his assets, activities and links.
* The ministry of home affairs (MHA) had also sought a report from Haryana’s director general of police in January 2007 on allegations levelled against Kanda by then Congress MLA, Karan Singh Dalal. Dalal had written to the Prime Minister questioning Kanda’s sudden and dramatic rise, accusing him of managing the alleged ill-gotten money of a former chief minister.
* The intelligence wing was then tasked with putting together information on Kanda and his family, including details of assets owned and acquired in the past few years.
* “Gopal Kanda and his family did not own much property five years ago. However, when his assets were looked into, it was found that in the last five years, Kanda and his family had amassed properties worth hundreds of crores, which included acquisition of an aircraft for Murli Dhar Lakhpat Rai (MDLR) Airlines. These facts clearly show that Gopal Kanda and his family have acquired money through illegal means. Hence, the matter should be investigated by the Income Tax department and legal action should be initiated,” the dossier said.
* The dossier said that Gopal Kanda, his brother Govind Kanda and their family were associated with a number of companies – MDLR Aviation Pvt Ltd, MDLR Hotels Pvt Ltd and LKG Builders, Nageshwar Realtors Pvt Ltd, Alankar Saphire Developer Pvt Ltd.
* The government’s report on Kanda listed out a large number of immoveable assets and properties being owned by Kanda and his family in Gurgaon and Sirsa. The income tax raids on his business establishments at Gurgaon and Sirsa in January 2008, in fact, were the upshot of this dossier.
* Kanda’s brother, Gobind, was one of the initial directors of M/s Onkareshwar Properties, the firm which sold the 3.5 acre Gurgaon land to Robert Vadra, the businessman son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Gobind, though, was not a director when the deal took place.
* His brush with controversies did not stop there. In April 2010, Kanda hit the headlines when he was caught abusing and threatening INLD workers live on camera during a Congress event in Sirsa. Once his security guards thrashed former cricketer Atul Wassan after he tried to overtake Kanda’s vehicle near Gurgaon toll plaza in 2011.
* During Ratia by-election in 2012, Kanda entered into an ugly spat with Sirsa MP Ashok Tanwar publicly. The then chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had to personally intervene to order a cease-fire.
* The intelligence wing dossier said he uses Kanda as his surname as his ancestors were in the business of weighing produce at the Anaj Mandi.
* Gopal Kanda, who founded the Haryana Lokhit Party with his brother Govind in May 2014, won from the Sirsa assembly constituency defeating Independent candidate Gokul Setia. Govind lost INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala’s estranged brother Ranjit Singh.
Oct 26, 2019 06:30 IST