Kanda out, BJP decides amid protests against his inclusion

The suicide of Geetika Sharma is not the only controversy that bogs Gopal Kanda; there are other cases listed in his affidavit to the Election Commission

Among the MLAs who have come out in support of the BJP in Haryana, the name of Gopal Kanda shocked many. Surrounded by allegations galore, Kanda is now reminding people of his old association with the RSS. Meanwhile, the BJP has distanced itself from Kanda. According to sources, Kanda will not get a ministerial position in the next BJP government in Haryana.

Sources in the BJP said if the controversial poplitician were to be supported, he would have to approach the governor with a letter. They said the party would not accept his support letter. The BJP has nothing to do with who chooses to support it unsolicited. Kanda is, therefore, unlikely to be a part of the next state government.

Party sources said further that the party or coalition Kanda wished to support was his own choice; the BJP cannot be held responsible for it. The party does not want to keep such tainted faces in their midst, sources said.

It is also the responsibility of the BJP to preserve its standards of morality, sources said. “That is why the party has decided at the highest level that Gopal Kanda will not be given a stake in the government,” a senior leader of the BJP said.

Questions raised on Kanda in BJP

Many questions are being raised after BJP’s initial acceptance of support of Gopal Kanda. After three tweets congratulating the party leadership for the ‘unprecedented’ show in Haryana, firebrand Uma Bharti wrote, “Is Gopal Kanda is the same person because of whom a girl committed suicide and her mother also committed suicide due to lack of justice? The matter is still pending in court and this person is out on bail.

Bharti wrote, “Whether Gopal Kanda is innocent or guilty, the law will decide on the basis of evidence. But winning an election does not acquit him of his deed. There are many factors that contribute to a win in an election. I will request the BJP not to forget our moral position.”

BJP on target of opponents due to Kanda

This tweet by Uma Bharti about Kanda’s support made the BJP uncomfortable, as did thousands of tweets of protest by traditional supporters of the party. Hashtags #KandaBjpSeBetiBachao, #Kanda and #KandaSeLaxmiBachao are still trending on Twitter.

Opponents, in the meantime, were already saying that they were beginning to grow a liking for Kanda’s stains for the sake of power. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had attacked the BJP, referring to the Geetika Sharma suicide case.

The story of Gopal Kanda

The rise of Gopal Kanda in Haryana politics was quite dramatic. There was a time when he used to run a radio repair shop in Sirsa. After that, he opened a shoe-shop. He developed the business to that of a shoe factory and then entered politics.

Kanda’s connections with leaders of different parties grew one after the other and his stature increased. In the year 2009, the situation in Haryana politics was similar to what one witnesses today. The Congress was reduced to 40 seats, six short of the majority mark. At the time, Kanda had won as an independent candidate and he extracted the price for his support to the Congress government by claiming the chair of the minister of state for home.

Geetika Sharma Suicide Case

Kanda was embroiled in a controversy when Geetika, an airhostess who used to work at the now-closed airline company MDLR, committed suicide in August 2012. In her suicide note, she held Kanda responsible for her death. The matter is still in a court of law. Sharma’s mother Anuradha Sharma committed suicide, too, several months after the daughter’s suicide.

On 6 October 2012, the police filed a charge sheet in the Geetika Sharma suicide case, according to which, Kanda used to mentally torture Geetika by forcing her into arbitrary and malicious acts, threatening her, blackmailing her, etc, which forced Gitika to end her life. Kanda had to go to jail and the case of abetment to suicide is still on him.

That’s not all

According to the affidavit given to the Election Commission, there are several other cases against Kanda: a cheque bounce case, a case of cheating under Section 420, a conspiracy case, a tax evasion case, a case of abetment to suicide, a criminal conspiracy case and a case of tampering of evidence.

Kanda-criminal-cases
Screenshot from My Neta website

Another DP Yadav

The case is reminiscent of the sneaky entry into the BJP and a prompt, unceremonious exit of DP Yadav, another dubious politician, under the regime of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. On 23 February 2004, the then prime minister faced uncomfortable questions from the media about Yadav’s entry into his party as a Rajya Sabha MP after which, while Vajpayee had told journalists, “I have been told that antecedents have been verified before admitting the new entrants into the party fold”, Yadav was asked to leave the BJP.

Yadav had become a bootlegger who entered the illegal country liquor trade as a protégé of ex-MLA Mahendra Singh Bhati in the late 1970s. Bhati was then the block pramukh (village council chief) in Ghaziabad. The first criminal charge against Yadav was registered in 1979 in the Kavi Nagar police station of Ghaziabad.

Yadav was charged in nine murder cases, three cases of attempted murder, two cases of dacoity, many cases of kidnapping for extortion, as well as various crimes under the Excise Act, Gangsters’ Act, and even the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act. In one of the cases filed against him in Haryana in the early 1990s, illicit liquor supplied by him was responsible for the death of 350 people.

During the BJP regime of chief minister Kalyan Singh, he was arrested under the National Security Act. In 1992, he was accused by the Central Bureau of Investigation of murdering his erstwhile mentor, Bhati, who was at the time MLA for Dadri. In March 2015, DP Yadav was sentenced to life in the Bhati murder case. He is currently serving life imprisonment in Dehradun jail.

Yadav is remembered also for his association with the murder of Nitish Katara by his son Vikas Yadav.

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