Sonali Phogat is pitted against sitting Congress MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi (Photo Credit: Facebook )
BJP's Adampur candidate and TikTok sensation Sonali Phogat had to apologise on Wednesday for her controversial remarks regarding the chanting of 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' slogans. Phogat made news after a video surfaced on Tuesday of her asking a group of people if they were from Pakistan when they did not chant 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' at a rally in the constituency. Tendering an apology for calling those who don't chant 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' as 'Pakistanis', Sonali Phogat said that she was merely trying to make the youth understand that one should show respect for the nation by chanting the slogan.
The rally was held in Balsamand village in Adampur in Hisar district.
"Pakistan se aaye ho kya? Pakistani ho kya? Agar Hindustan se aaye ho to Bharat Mata ki Jai bolo. (Have you come from Pakistan? Are you Pakistanis? If you are from India chant 'Bharat Mata ki Jai')," she was seen telling a few people in the crowd at the rally who remained silent after she asked the audience to raise the slogan.
Phogat (40) then repeated her chants of 'Bharat Mata ki Jai'. Turning to that section in the crowd again, on her right, she said, "I feel ashamed that people like you too are Indians, who would not chant 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' for petty politics."
In a video of Phogat's purported outburst, which went viral on social media, she is seen further telling them, "Those who cannot say 'Bharat Mata ki Jai', their vote has no value".
"Shame on those who cannot chant 'Bharat Mata ki Jai." However, later during her speech, she promised to build a college in the area, which drew loud cheers and chants of 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' from the audience.
Phogat, who is pitted against sitting Congress MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi, said she will defeat him like Smriti Irani ousted Rahul Gandhi from his stronghold Amethi.
Later in the evening, the BJP candidate clarified her remarks, saying she did not dub the group of people in the crowd as "Pakistanis". "I asked them 'have you come from Pakistan'," she told the media in Adampur. She claimed that many of them were youths. They later met her and were apologetic for not chanting 'Bharat Mata ki Jai'.
Haryana goes to polls on October 21.