A glamorous rookie in Haryana poll fray beats even tall leaders like Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Congress' Hooda, when it comes to personalities being searched on Google this election.
Clad in a saree, as this first-time candidate of the BJP from the hot seat of Adampur in Hisar walks down dusty aisles in villages, she impresses voters while speaking in a chaste Haryanavi dialect.
Until Sonali Phogat made a surprise appearance in the BJP list of candidates, many knew her much as a sensation on popular media App TikTok.
Soon after videos of Sonali Phogat lip singing songs and dancing to popular Bollywood numbers went viral, she jumped in poll fray to take on the might of Congress strongman and scion of former chief minister Bhajan Lal’s family Kuldeep Bishnoi
But this greenhorn is promising to be more than her image as a TikTok artist. She exudes confidence as she accused Bishnoi as a ‘corrupt’ politician having done nothing for Adampur.
Sonali is already courting controversy.
A couple of days ago, during a public address in a village, Sonali put the voters literally to utter shame for not chanting “Bharat Mata ki Jai”.
In fact, the audience did chant "Bharat Mata ki Jai" after Sonali patronized the slogan from the dais, but feebly, which is what annoyed her.
What followed thereafter was verbal diarrhea by the BJP candidate.
“Are you Pakistanis? Shame on you if you cannot chant Bharat Mata ki Jai,” Sonali said. That incident backfired forcing Sonali to release a video apologizing to the voters the next day.
The BJP’s new kid on the block is banking essentially on a ‘BJP wave’.
Her ‘TikTok status’ was perhaps the only qualification that got her the ticket, her opponents quip.
State president of the Aam Aadmi Party Naveen Jaihind took a dig at the saffron party saying its leaders who have been denied tickets in this election should not be disheartened and instead they should take to the TikTok platform as it’s now a sure way to grab a BJP ticket.
Bishnoi discounts Sonali's presence in the elections. But the Adampur strongman needn’t be complacent given that several greenhorns in politics won elections in the last five years in a BJP wave.