New Delhi: Haryanvi singer and dancer Sapna Chaudhary’s foot-tapping numbers have had listeners swaying to the beats and clicking their fingers. Chaudhary is a mega star in rural areas, where her shows attract large crowds while her videos go viral on the internet impressing fans beyond Haryana. But this artiste has been in news of late not so much for her big hits as her foray into politics.
Chaudhary formally joined the BJP earlier this week. Assembly elections in Haryana is less than six months away, and Chaudhary’s entry is a shot in the arm for the party.
But this newest member of BJP makes it clear that she will not be contesting elections.
While speculations had been abuzz about her political ambitions – her photograph with Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had gone viral, and she was also seen accompanying BJP MP and the party’s Delhi unit chief Manoj Tiwari during campaigning for Lok Sabha elections – the singer never made it clear if she wanted to make that jump.
‘Want to remain an artiste’
Talking to ThePrint, Chaudhary said, “I am ok with my status as an artiste. But I am ready to respect any responsibility that the party gives me.”
However, the fact that her car has been made bulletproof indicates that the singer is poised to play a far larger role in the BJP – as a star campaigner for Haryana and Delhi assembly elections.
Not to forget, BJP’s IT cell has also been actively involved in an image-building exercise for Chaudhary in the face of negative comments made by leaders from various opposition parties in Haryana and other states.
Jannayak Janata Party leader Digvijay Singh Chautala had, earlier this week, made a sexist comment about her, saying she will win votes for the BJP by dancing. “I am interested in knowing who among the BJP leaders are fond of her dances,” he had remarked.
The Haryana Women’s Commission had Wednesday issued a notice to Chautala asking him to “apologise or face action”.
Reacting to Chautala’s comment, Chaudhary said, “He should answer why he was seeking my support during the Lok Sabha elections then? Questioning my profession clearly indicates that the opposition has run out of issues to raise. People of Haryana will give them a befitting reply during the elections.”
‘I am impressed by Modi’s work’
Chaudhary was inducted into BJP Sunday in the presence of high profile leaders including Tiwari and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. When asked about her decision to join the saffron party, she said, “Who does not need BJP? Sapna needs BJP and BJP also needs Sapna.”
Chaudhary also said she was “impressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s style of working”.
“Both our party and the PM are working for the nation. I am impressed by the Modi government’s policies – be it distributing gas cylinders in every village or the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan”.
Reports about joining Congress
Chaudhary had hit the headlines in March when Uttar Pradesh Congress Chief Raj Babbar tweeted a photograph of the singer along with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, welcoming her to the party. Chaudhary later denied having joined the party.
“As an artiste, I keep meeting different people which is part of my job. My meeting with Vadra was not a political one. In these days, anyone can get photos clicked with anyone,” she said.
But soon after her picture with Vadra went viral, Chaudhary was also seen with Tiwari who she called her “mentor and godfather”.
“He is like a father figure to me but he never asked me to join the BJP”.
Why she is opposed to Arvind Kejriwal?
Chaudhary’s BJP membership and her proximity to Tiwari also means she can be a powerful voter mobilisation for the saffron party in Delhi.
Attacking Arvind Kejriwal’s style of working and the policies of his government, Chaudhary said the CM has not “delivered even one of his countless promises”.
“He is misleading people in the name of education reforms too. When classrooms can be built in Rs 5 lakh, Kejriwal has been constructing them with Rs 15 lakh. What is the logic behind having more rooms and buildings when there are not enough teachers? Will the buildings teach the students?” Chaudhary asked.
Jat vote appeal?
While Chaudhary has a huge appeal among the Jats, the community has also been divided over her use of ‘Chaudhary’ as a surname. Several members of the community have raised questions about her Jat lineage on social media sites.
“Whoever needs my birth certificate can come and get it from me. Then again people have also rejected leaders involved in caste politics. I was born in Delhi. My father is from UP and my mother hails from Gurugram. But as an artiste, I belong to the entire nation. Raising issues related to all states is my duty,” she said.
While the Jats had supported BJP in the 2014 elections, the community became distant from the party in the years to come. One major reason is BJP’s suppression of Jats in 2016 when the community was up in arms for reservation in jobs.
With a backdrop such as this, Chaudhary’s future in the party and involvement during electoral campaigning will be interesting to watch.
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