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Who are the eight independents making Khattar breathe easy?

New Delhi, Oct 25 (IANS) The BJP has managed the numbers in Haryana, where it was six short of the magic figure. It got eight Independents instead, till the last count. But who are these 8 MLAs who came across to pump in a new lease of life into BJP’s Manohar Lal Khattar?

1. Gopal Goyal Kanda: It won’t be a wrong statement to call the MLA from Sirsa the ring-leader. He is a strongman-cum-businessman who earlier served as a minister under Bhupinder Singh Hooda, when an Independent MLA. His MDLR airline, that shot him into fame, also brought him disrepute. Kanda allegedly forced two women to commit suicide in 2012-13. The first victim was an employee of his airlines – Geetika Sharma, an air hostess in August 2013. Just six months of Geetika’s death, her mother killed herself too, blaming Kanda.

2. Nayanpal Rawat: The BJP had rebels galore in this Haryana election. Rawat had sought a BJP ticket from Prithla but was denied and launched a campaign against the party. Awarding ticket to Sohan Pal cost the party dear when Rawat defeated the Congress candidate by 16,429 votes and the BJP candidate came an embarrassing third.

3. Rakesh Daulatabad: Rakesh Daultabad from Badshahpur defeated saffron party’s Manish Yadav by 10,000 votes. He too is a BJP rebel and is now back in the BJP fold. He had fought both the 2009 and 2014 assembly election but only tasted defeat. In both the elections, he ended up as the first runner up. This time, he fought on his own and his win has brought great relief for the saffron party just in the right time.

4. Randhir Singh Gollen: Fighting as a BJP rebel from the Pundri seat, Goundal won by a margin of 12,824 votes, driving the BJP candidate to the third position.

5. Balraj Kundu: Winning from the Meham constituency, he is another BJP rebel. The chairman of the Zila Parishad in Rohat before he resigning, he had sought a BJP ticket. When the BJP fielded Shamsher Kharkara, he chose to fight as an Independent and emerged triumphant. Kharkhara came third. But now, with changed political realities, it was just a matter of time before Kundu pledged support for BJP.

6. Ranjit Chautala: A Chautala and son of former Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal, he does not see eye to eye with his brother O.P. Chautala. He sought a Congress ticket to fight the election, but when denied, fought as an independent and won from Haryana’s Rania constituency. At Delhi’s Haryana Bhawan on Friday, he pledged support to the BJP saying: “I have openly said that I extend my support to Bharatiya Janata Party”.

While, Kanda, Kundu or Chautala are pretty well known, very little is known about Dharma Pal Gonder and Sombir, who won from Nilokheri (SC) and Dadri, respectively.

After the controversial past of Kanda has resurfaced leaving BJP is a fix, the party has asserted that it is not necessary that every offer of support will be accepted. But one thing that binds most of them are their old links with the BJP. So much so even the suicide-tainted Kanda claimed that he belongs to a family with a deep-rooted belief in the RSS, the ideological mentor of the ruling party.

–IANS

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