Kept away for years, Gopal Kanda enters the NDA tent

Scorned by the Haryana BJP for over four years, controversial Haryana Lokhit Party (HLP) president and Sirsa MLA Gopal Kanda, facing charges of abetment to suicide in the death of flight attendant Geetika Sharma, was on Tuesday included in the list of invitees to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) meeting in Delhi.

Though he did not attend the meeting due to prior commitments, his party joining the NDA not only marks a change in BJP’s stand but is also indicative of the political equations developing in the state ahead of elections next year.

strategic distance

The Haryana BJP has maintained a strategic distance from Mr Kanda all these years, not giving him any post, though he had declared unconditional support to the Manohar Lal-led BJP government in the state.

The HLP chief later voted in its favor in the presidential and vice-presidential elections and the Rajya Sabha elections.

The 57-year-old leader has repeatedly reiterated his support to the BJP citing his family’s old association with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

When the 2019 Assembly polls brought a fractured mandate and the BJP fell six short of the simple majority mark in the 90-member House, the Sirsa MLA had positioned himself for a crucial role. However, his bid failed when senior BJP leader Uma Bharti, in a series of tweets, advised the state unit to seek support from leaders with a ‘clean’ image.

According to Mr. Kanda’s affidavit given to the Election Commission ahead of the 2019 assembly elections, nine criminal cases including abetment to suicide, criminal conspiracy, forgery, cheating and check bounce are pending against him in various courts.

man for sirsa

Mr Kanda could be key to the BJP’s plans to gain a foothold in the Sirsa region, a traditional bastion of Chautala’s Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), which has five assembly seats and where the BJP will win a single seat in the 2019 elections. Wasn’t found

From running a shoe shop with his brother in Sirsa in the 1990s to starting his own airline, the now-defunct MDLR Airlines, Mr. Kanda first allied with the late Haryana chief minister Bansi Lal, but when the INLD came So he shifted his loyalty to Chautala. power in 1999. However, he faced defeat in 2009 and won from Sirsa as an independent.

With the Bhupinder Hooda-led Congress falling short of the simple majority mark – in a BJP-like situation in 2019 – Mr Kanda played a key role in turning things in the grand old party’s favour. His rise after being made the Minister of State for Home Affairs came to a halt when Geetika Sharma, who worked with MDLR Airlines, ended her life in 2012 after accusing him of sexual harassment. A year later, his mother also took the same step, blaming him.

(Those who need help to overcome suicidal thoughts may contact Sanjeevani, Society for Mental Health suicide prevention helpline 011-40769002 (10am to 7.30pm, Monday-Saturday).