Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has made it clear the BJP will not rely on support from controversial MLA Gopal Kanda to form the new Haryana government. News the BJP would call on the Haryana Lokhit Party MLA, in addition to seven independents, to help it cross the 46-seat majority mark in the 90-member house triggered outbursts from the opposition and even within the party, with senior leader Uma Bharti urging it to "not forget its moral foundation".
"I want to clarify one thing that the BJP is not going to take the support of Kanda," Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters in Chandigarh today, where the party, after striking a deal with Dushyant Chautala's Jannayak Janta Party (JJP), is set to stake claim to form the government. The JJP's 10 MLAs will make any approach to Gopal Kanda, or, indeed, even the other independents, unnecessary.
On Thursday, as the counting of votes indicated a hung Assembly in Haryana, reports suggested Gopal Kanda - who has been elected from Sirsa - and another independent - had been flown to Delhi by a BJP MP for talks with the party leadership.
As uncertainty over government formation in the state continued, Gopal Kanda, on Friday, cited his family's deep connection with the BJP's ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and said he and the other independent MLAs would offer the BJP "unconditional support".
The BJP, however, was silent on the matter. Sources said Gopal Kanda's help had not been sought and was unwanted even by Manohar Lal Khattar.
Nevertheless, reports of Gopal Kanda, who was charged with rape (the charge was dropped in 2014), abetment to suicide, criminal conspiracy and criminal intimidation, may help the BJP form the government prompted criticism from the opposition Congress and BJP leader Uma Bharti.
"Once upon a time, the BJP took out rally against Gopal Kanda demanding his resignation and arrest. Now they are desperate to take his support in Haryana, he is accused of rape and murder. Where is Beti Bachao Beti Padao now? This is a disgrace... Is he purified by supporting BJP?" the Congress tweeted.
"If Kanda is the same person who was the cause of a girl's suicide, the suicide of her mother and faces trial... whether he is innocent or guilty, the law will decide. But his winning an election does not absolve him. There are many factors in an election victory," Uma Bharti tweeted.