New Delhi: In what could be seen as a proof of growing bonhomie between the Congress and the Samjawadi Party, Congress General Secretary Digvijaya Singh said he will not field any candidate in the Kannauj Lok Sabha by-poll against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav's wife, Dimple, who will be filing her nomination on Tuesday.
The Congress' decision is in sharp contrast to the 2009 by-election to the Firozabad Lok Sabha seat, when the party fielded Bollywood star Raj Babbar against the Yadav bahu, and won.
According to party sources, Dimple will address a political rally at Kannauj on Tuesday and might have the company of party chief Mulayam Singh, husband and CM Akhilesh Yadav and SP General Secretary Ram Gopal Yadav.
The Kannauj by-poll was necessitated by Akhilesh Yadav's election to the State Legislative Council and Dimple was fielded following consultations and deliberations, said party officials.
Kannauj is considered a safer seat for her, as it has been thrice represented by Akhilesh Yadav, and also because the party fared exceedingly well in the state Assembly elections in March.
Congress and SP: The growing bonhomie
Congress General Secretary Digvijaya Singh's statement comes days after SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav was seen sharing the stage with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi at UPA-II's third anniversary dinner.
Mulayam was seen sitting next to Sonia. Hit by policy paralysis and facing roadblocks from allies like Mamata, the Congress seems to be looking at Mulayam as a way out.
Its calculation is that it could use Mulayam's support to go ahead with big ticket reforms and counter the Trinamool's repeated threats.
In exchange, Mulayam could get a berth in the government. In a repeat of 2008, when its decision to go ahead with the nuclear deal forced the Left to leave and Samajwadi Party to bail it out, this time too, the Congress could time it with the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.