In a major embarrassment to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Haryanvi Singer Sapna Chaudhary campaigned for rival candidate Gopal Kanda ahead of the October 21 Assembly elections in Haryana. The singer had joined the BJP in July this year, putting down all speculations of her joining the opposition Congress.
Subsequently, the saffron party went into a damage-control mode with its Delhi unit chief Manoj Tiwari dissuading the singer from campaigning for Kanda, the Haryana Lokhit Party candidate from Sirsa, news agency PTI reported quoting BJP sources.
Kanda, a former minister, is an influential politician in Haryana and it may be noted that his name had once figured in the suicide case of a woman employee of his airlines company.
Further, according to sources, Chaudhary has informed BJP leaders that she was advised by her staff that she can campaign for Kanda as he “was an independent candidate”.
A video message of Chaudhary seeking support for Kanda in Haryana election went viral on social media, catching the attention of BJP leaders on Friday. There were also posters of Chaudhary in favour of Kanda, said a senior Delhi BJP leader.
Meanwhile, a section of Delhi BJP leaders expressed shock and demanded that Chaudhary be punished for “anti-party activity”. “How can she campaign for a candidate against the official BJP candidate when she herself is a party member,” said a leader.
BJP has fielded Pradip Ratusaria from Sirsa where Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a rally on Saturday (October 19), the last day of campaigning for the October 21 polls.
Chaudhary joined the BJP with much fanfare at Jawahar Lal Nehru stadium during the party’s nationwide membership campaign in July, in the presence of former Madhya Pradesh chief minister and BJP vice-president Shivraj Singh Chouhan, BJP general secretary Ram Lal and Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari.
The sources said Chaudhary, who is an artiste and performer, claimed she was advised by her staff that she can campaign for Kanda.
“When party leaders asked her about why she decided to campaign for Kanda, she claimed she was advised that she can do so as Kanda was an independent candidate,” said a Delhi BJP leader.
However, she was asked by party leaders not to do so and immediately dissociate herself from any type of campaigning for Kanda. She was also scheduled to participate in a roadshow in support of Kanda, he said.
(With inputs from agencies)