Kannauj: In a move that hints at the changing political equations and new alliances, the Congress has decided not to field a candidate against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav's wife Dimple in the Kannuaj by-election.
Notably, the same party had pitched Raj Babbar last time to defeat Yadav by a huge margin.
As Dimple Yadav kicked off her campaign for the Kannauj lok sabaha seat, which was vacated by her husband, the Congress did what any good friend would do. They decided not to field a candidate against her.
"We will not fight the Kannauj by-elections," said Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh.
It's a gesture that would greatly bolster Dimple’s confidence. Her last political outing, the Firozabad by-polls in 2009, had ended in a huge embarrassment.
Samajwadi Party rebel Raj Babbar, fighting on a Congress ticket, had managed to defeat her by a humiliating margin.
So why is the Congress being so gracious to the Yadav bahu when just two months ago, Rahul Gandhi had literally torn into the Samajwadi Party in a bitter UP camapgin?
Few days back, the growing bonhomie between the Congress and the SP was there for everyone to see at the UPA dinner where Mulayam Singh shared the stage with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
The Congress surrounded by troublesome allies like Mamata Banerjee is banking on SP support to push through some key economic reforms. Mulayam’s numbers would be helpful in the upcoming presidential elections as well.
The SP, for its part, seems pleased with the Congress decision.
"I have full faith in the people of Kannauj. They have given me chance three times, and I am confident they will vote for Samajwadi Party this time," said Akhilesh.
But as there are no free lunches, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav will need generous help from the UPA to fulfill his Rs 2 lakh crore budget promises. He has now fast tracked development scheme in Rae Bareilly and Amethi that had been stalled by the previous Mayawati government.
It's a friendship borne out of necessity, but will it stand the test of time? In this case, till the 2014 general elections. In this case, we have to wait and watch.