Explained: Who is Sapna Chaudhary? What’s the controversy surrounding her?

Sapna Chaudhary said she will not campaign for any political party in the Lok Sabha elections.

Confusion and drama prevailed on Sunday over reports that famous Haryanavi singer-dancer Sapna Chaudhary has joined the Congress and would be pitted against Bollywood star Hema Malini from Mathura Lok Sabha seat.

However, Chaudhary made it clear that she had not joined the Congress and would not campaign for any political party in the Lok Sabha elections.

The controversy started on Saturday night after Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Raj Babbar welcomed Chaudhary into the party and posted a picture on Twitter of the dancer with Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi. "I welcome Sapna Chaudhary ji in the Congress family," Babbar had tweeted.

However, the Rohtak-born star clarified on Sunday that the pictures were old and rubbished claims that she filed Congress membership form. "I have not joined the Congress party. My pictures with Priyanka Gandhi are old, as I have met her many times in the past. These pictures are old. The biggest issue is that I have not joined any party," she told reporters.

One of the most demanded stage performers in Haryana, her dancing style and on-stage persona has made her a cultural icon in Haryana. A YouTube video of her dancing to ‘Teri Aankhya Ka Yo Kaajal’ at a local programme has 391 million views — among the 25 most-watched videos in India.

With over 1.6 million followers on Instagram, Chaudhary, in recent times, has often criticised the enemies of the country and called for "revenge". She also visits gaushalas regularly.

Belonging to a middle-class Jat family, Chaudhary took to dancing seriously after the death of her father in 2008 to sustain the family. She specialises in a traditional dance form called Khodiya, which showcases the repressed sexuality of Haryana's women.

Her career received a shot in the arm in 2015, when her song ‘Solid Body Re’ went viral. In 2016, she got embroiled in a major controversy after her performance to a song that had casteist references.

A complaint was filed against her for hurting caste sentiments and she was trolled and was subject to hate online too. All this took a toll on Chaudhary's mental health and she attempted suicide by consuming poison.

After the Punjab & Haryana High Court granted her bail in September 2016, her career started getting back on track. The year 2017 saw her roar back with her participation in the reality TV series Bigg Boss. She also performed item numbers in Bollywood movies ‘Veere di Wedding’ and ‘Nanu ki Jaanu’.