Three of the four celebrity candidates fielded by the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Haryana Assembly elections had a forgettable Thursday, when votes for the 90-member Assembly were counted.
Former India men’s hockey team captain Sandeep Singh was the only one of the four to win the election. He defeated Congress leader Mandeep Singh Chattha in Pehowa by 5,314 votes.
His fellow sportspersons Yogeshwar Dutt and Babita Phogat did not have the same luck. Dutt, an Olympic medallist and wrestler, lost in Baroda Assembly seat in Sonipat district to Congress’ Krishan Hooda by 4,840 votes. Dutt had joined the BJP on September 26 along with Singh.
Wrestler Babita Phogat, who is a Commonwealth Games medallist, also face defeat. She came third in Dadri with 24,786 votes – receiving only 19.5% of the ballots cast. Independent candidate Sombir Sangwan emerged the winner. He beat the Jannayak Janta Party’s Satpal Sangwan. Sombir Sangwan was a former BJP loyalist who contested on his own after being denied a ticket.
Earlier in the day, when reports began to emerge that Phogat had lost, she thanked her supporters and said: “The kind of respect they gave me, I am thankful for it. People trust the work by BJP and that’s why they vote for the party.”
TikTok star Sonali Phogat, another celebrity candidate, lost by a huge margin to three-time Congress MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi, who defeated her by 29,471 votes in Adampur. The constituency has been the party’s bastion for the last 50 years. Sonali Phogat rose to prominence in local circles by establishing herself as a popular personality on TikTok. She has over 1,66,000 followers on the app.
The Congress and the BJP are locked in a neck-and-neck fight for the 90-seat Haryana Assembly, defying most exit poll predictions. According to the Election Commission, the Bharatiya Janata Party has so far won 33 seats and is leading in seven others. The Congress has won 29 and is ahead in two, while the Jannayak Janta Party, which is fighting its first election, has won 10 seats. Independent candidates have won seven seats, while the Haryana Lokhit Party and the Indian National Lok Dal have one seat each.
Now, follow and debate the day’s most significant stories on Scroll Exchange.