Who is Gopal Kanda? MLA who holds key to BJP’s second term in power in Haryana

Amid hectic parleys over government formation in Haryana after election results threw up a hung assembly, Independent candidate and controversial political leader Gopal Kanda has offered his unconditional support to the BJP. Kanda also claimed that all the Independent candidates have extended their support to the BJP as he has turned kingmaker with one seat. My family is connected with RSS since 1926. My father was connected with the BJP, said Kanda, adding that he met the party functionaries earlier in the day. Assembly Elections 2019: Full Coverage The ruling BJP emerged as the largest party with 40 seats, six short of the halfway figure needed to form the government while the Congress bagged 31 seats. With no real clear winner, the fractured mandate cleared the decks for hectic efforts by both the BJP and the Congress to woo the seven independents and the Jannayak Janta Party with 10 seats as they together hold the key to power in the state. Who is Gopal Kanda? The Haryana Lokhit Party chief has a tainted political career. In 2012, he resigned from Cabinet minister post in former Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda government after he was arrested on charges of abetting the suicide and criminal intimidation of an air hostess Geetika Sharma employed with his aviation company, MDLR airline. Geetika Sharma committed suicide and left two suicide notes, accusing Kanda of harassment. A year later, Geetikas mother also committed suicide in the same manner as her daughters. Before joining politics, Kanda had tried his hands in several failed businesses like real estate, shoe business, and car dealership before he recovered from steep losses and rebuilt his fortune as a real estate developer in Gurgaon in 1998. His influence in politics grew alongside. In 2007, the Centre asked the Haryana government to investigate him when he was caught in the company of four wanted criminals. In 2016, he was charged for alleged tax evasion and cheating. Also Read | In the Haryana Assembly Election results 2019, Kanda won from the Sirsa seat by a slender margin of 602 votes. Kanda and another Independent Ranjeet Singh were flown to Delhi in a chartered plane by Sirsa MP Sunita Duggal. He met with BJP working president JP Nadda late on Thursday evening in Delhi. The BJP has drawn wide criticism for seeking support from Kanda. Questions are also being raised on the credibility of NDA governments Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao campaign after Kandas role in the government formation came to light.