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Post acquittal, Gopal Kanda eyes Cabinet berth, warms up to BJP

Tribune News Service

Deepender Deswal

Hisar, July 29

After acquittal in the Geetika Sharma suicide case, Sirsa MLA and Haryana Lokhit Party chief Gopal Kanda is reportedly looking ahead to strengthen his political base in the BJP-JJP government. The sources said Kanda was aspiring to join the government as minister though the BJP was weighing its options ahead of a possible cabinet reshuffle.

Political circles are abuzz with speculations after Kanda met Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar in Delhi yesterday. Though the official statement stated that he discussed the issues related to development of Sirsa and state with the CM, the meeting had serious political implications.

Sources said Kanda could give a thought to the option of merging his party with the BJP with certain conditions. Kanda had launched the HLP in May 2014, six months before the Assembly elections. While his younger brother Gobind Kanda, already a member of the BJP, the Kanda brothers had worked hard by mobilising workers and resources to make the BJP rally in Sirsa on June 18 addressed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah a success. Gobind was actively and officially engaged in the activities. Gopal also made a brief appearance on the dais during the rally before the arrival of Shah.

The BJP leaders maintained that after acquittal in the suicide case, there was no hitch in his joining the BJP. “Though whether to take him in the cabinet or not is a bigger issue. But it will be beneficial for the party in Sirsa district, if he joins the party,” said a BJP functionary.

However, Sirsa district president Aditya Chautala maintained that though there had been no discussion at the party platform on this issue. They would welcome him, if he opted to join the party.

Gopal Kanda had won from Sirsa Assembly seat in 2019 by defeating Independent candidate Gokul Setia by 602 votes in a closely contested election, while BJP candidate Pradeep Ratusaria slipped to third position. Kanda had also won this seat in 2009 as an Independent.

On both the occasions of victory, the defending party (Congress in 2009 and BJP in 2019) fell short of the majority mark, which gave bargaining power to Kanda. In 2009, he managed to get the coveted position of Minister of State for Home in the Hooda government. In 2019, despite his open support, the BJP opted to keep him out of government apparently due to pending trial in the Geetika Sharma suicide case.

Had launched party in 2014

  • Gopal Kanda had launched the Haryana Lokhit Party in May 2014, six months before the Assembly elections. Sources say Kanda may consider the option of merging his party with the BJP on certain conditions
  • He had won from the Sirsa Assembly seat in 2019 by defeating Independent candidate Gokul Setia by 602 votes in a closely contested election
  • In 2009, he won as an Independent and got the position of Minister of State for Home in the Hooda government


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