- Chief Minister ML Khattar is in Delhi to meet senior BJP leadership
- MLA Gopal Kanda said 6 independents are ready to support BJP
- BJP set to form government in Haryana, it emerged as single largest party
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"We will support the BJP unconditionally. My father was in the RSS, so we are part of the family. We have all agreed to support the BJP," Gopal Kanda said.
Chief Minister Khattar flew to Delhi at around 9.30 am in a helicopter, which he boarded from his official residence in Chandigarh. "We are going to form the government in Haryana. I am optimistic," Mr Khattar told reporters this morning.
Gopal Kanda, 53, has a controversial record. The 53-year-old MLA, who resigned from Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda's cabinet in 2012 after being accused of abetting the suicide of an air hostess, was reportedly flown by BJP MP Sunita Duggal to Delhi last night for a meeting with party leadership.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala has hit out at Gopal Kanda, who was earlier with the opposition party. "When Kanda was a minister in Congress he was an aaropi (accused) but now look what is happening - this is doublespeak. The truth is that this is 'aya ram, gaya ram'. A party that cannot get majority should not form the government".
The BJP has been called out by senior leader Uma Bharti for taking the support of Gopal Kanda. "I would like to request the party not to forget its moral foundation," the former Union Minister said in a series of tweets.
The others expected to support the BJP are Nayan Pal Rawat, Dharampal Godar, Sombir Sanghwan, Balraj Kundu, Randhir Gaundal and Ranjit Singh. Randhir Golan, who was elected from Pundri, said: "I was BJP worker for 30 years. I was in BJP, where did I go? BJP is my mother". Ranjit Singh, who was elected from Rania, said: "I have openly said that I extend my support to the BJP".
Deepender Hooda is also in Delhi, like Mr Khattar, to put together a majority for his party. The senior Congress leader hit out at independent MLAs rushing to help the BJP form the next government in Haryana. "They are digging their own political grave. They are selling the trust of the people. The people of Haryana will never forgive those who do so. They will thrash them with shoes," he told ANI.
Speaking to NDTV, Mr Hooda called on the independents to respect the mandate of the people and step away from the BJP. "It cannot be said right now that we are lagging behind in forming the government. Independent MLAs are also in touch with us. (In areas that they have been elected)... the people's mandate is against the BJP, so they should respect that," he said.
Dushyant Chautala, whose Jannayak Janta Party won 10 seats, had hoped to play kingmaker but he faded in importance with the BJP needing just six more seats and making up the shortfall with independents. Mr Chautala was contacted by the Congress for a possible alliance but he was non-committal. The Congress will need more than just the JJP's support to form the next government.
Speaking after a national executive meeting of his party, the JJP chief said some members were in favour of a tie-up with the BJP and others wanted to support the Congress. "If somebody wants to be our partner on the issues that we fought this election and give us due respect, we will support them," Mr Chautala said.
With input from ANI