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Doordarshan to BJP via TikTok: Sonali Phogat, the BJP's Wild Card in Haryana

The former Bigg Boss star was involved in several controversies over the years.

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Edited By :Tejas Harad

A television anchor for Doordarshan Hisar, a Tik Tok Star, an actor, a 'Bigg Boss' contestant, and a politician – few can claim to have had a career as varied as Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sonali Phogat, who died of a heart attack in Goa on Monday, 22 August, at a young age of 42.

Phogat garnered massive following on TikTok before contesting the 2019 Haryana Assembly elections as a BJP candidate from the Adampur constituency in 2019.

From a successful content creator to a controversial politician, here's a look at her journey.

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Anchoring to Acting

Phogat was born on 21 September 1979 in Bhuthan Kalan, a small village in Haryana’s Fatehabad district. She did her schooling from Pioneer Convent School in Fatehabad but was married off after 10th grade.

She later completed her Arts degree from Maharshi Dayanand University, Haryana.

She joined Hisar Doordarshan as an anchor in 2006 where she worked for two years before joining the BJP’s national working committee and becoming the national vice president of the BJP’s Mahila Morcha.

After quitting anchoring, she started taking on acting roles. Phogat worked with actors like Jimmy Shergill and Ravi Kishan and played Nawab Shah’s wife in 'Amma,' a popular Zee TV show based on the India-Pakistan partition.

In 2016, her husband Sanjay Phogat was found dead under mysterious circumstances near his farmhouse in Haryana’s Hisar district.

"In Haryana, only the men are allowed to go out and work. My in-laws allowed me to study further, but they had reservations about me going out and earning. Somehow I convinced my husband and got his permission," she told Hindustan Times in 2020.

"But the real challenge was when I chose acting as a profession. Then I went into politics, and my late husband had my back there as well. When my husband passed away, I faced a lot of hardships. I was mentally tortured," she added.

The former Bigg Boss star was involved in several controversies over the years.

Sonali Phogat and her husband Sanjay.

(Photo Courtesy: Sonali Phogat/Instagram)

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Elections & Controversies

Three years later, in 2019, Phogat was nominated by the BJP to contest the Haryana Assembly elections from the Adampur constituency against Kuldeep Bishnoi, a Congress nominee.

By this time, she already had a massive following on the video-sharing app TikTok, with nearly 1.50 lakh followers.

"I have been in politics since before TikTok. The process of TikTok started in the middle and I didn't get the assembly election ticket because of it. For the last twelve years I have been working in the Bharatiya Janata Party as a worker, that's why I have been made a candidate," she told The Quint in 2019.

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Controversy erupted after she asked a group of people if they were from Pakistan when they did not chant 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' at her rally in Haryana’s Balsamand village.

“I was angry and asked them if they have come from Pakistan. I apologise if I hurt someone's sentiments but all I wanted was to tell them was that we should say 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' to give respect to our nation,” Phogat later said.

Phogat, who ended up losing the election, also filed a police complaint against her sister and brother-in-law alleging that she was assaulted and threatened by the duo.

She alleged that the incident occurred on 28 October evening when they were visiting her parental house in Bhunthan Kalan village in Fatehabad in Haryana. No arrests were made in the case.

Phogat re-entered the limelight a year later, in 2020, when she appeared in the 14th season of reality television show Bigg Boss as a wild card contestant.

The former Bigg Boss star was involved in several controversies over the years.

Sonali Phogat entered Bigg Boss 14 as a contestant.

(Photo Courtesy: Pinterest)

In June 2020, a video surfaced in which she was seen beating up the Hisar Market Committee secretary, Sultan Singh, with her slipper while saying, "You have no right to live."

“I visited Balsamand mandi along with a few farmers and the Hisar market committee secretary Sultan Singh to inspect the arrangements for starting gram procurement there," she told reporters.

"Sultan told me that I am a charming lady and I should not be roaming in the mandis for farmers. I tried to control my anger but his words pinched me so I thrashed him. He sought unconditional apology from me. Now, I have filed a complaint against Sultan Singh,” she added.

Phogat, who was reportedly on a shoot in Goa, complained of uneasiness to her staff on Monday She was taken to St Anthony Hospital at Anjuna in North Goa district where she was declared dead on arrival.

She is survived by a daughter.

(With inputs from Hindustan Times.)

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Topics:  BJP   Haryana   Obituary 

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