With the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party backing out and the Bahujan Samaj Party's position not yet clear, Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh's daughter-in-law, Dimple Yadav, filed her papers for the June 24 Kannauj Lok Sabha by-election on Tuesday. Nominations close on Wednesday.
The by-election has been necessitated by the resignation of the seat by Ms. Yadav's husband and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Akhilesh Yadav. He was alongside his wife when she filed her papers at the Kannauj Collectorate.
Another nomination, by Dashrath Shankwar of the Sanyukt Samajwadi Dal, was filed on Tuesday.
The by-election seems to be a no-contest with the scales, at the outset, tilted heavily in favour of Ms. Yadav.
The BJP's decision not to contest was taken at a meeting of the party's State Election Committee here on Tuesday. The BJP has instead decided to concentrate on the forthcoming local bodies elections.
Addressing an election meeting after filing her nomination, Ms. Yadav slammed the erstwhile Mayawati Government for corruption, and said she would leave no stone unturned to develop Kannauj. Describing herself as a “sister,” “daughter-in-law (bahu) and “sister-in-law”(bhabhi) of the electorate, Ms. Yadav said the people had seen the working of “Netaji” (Mulayam Singh) and her husband, and that she would continue to serve Kannauj.
The Chief Minister assured the ‘janata' that he would develop the entire State, and in particular improve the power situation.
Ms. Yadav unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha by-election from Firozabad in 2009 after the seat was vacated by her husband, who preferred to retain Kannauj (in the 2009 Lok Sabha election, Mr. Yadav won from both constituencies). The winner in the by-election then was Raj Babbar, who was fielded by the Congress after he quit the SP. Her loss at the hands of a one-time party colleague was seen as a personal setback to Mr. Mulayam Singh.
Since 2009 there has been a marked reversal in the fortunes of the SP and the Congress with the former now in the seat of power and the latter finding it difficult to recover from the setback it suffered in the 2012 Assembly polls.
The Congress decision not to contest the Kannauj by-election has been confirmed by PCC president Rita Bahuguna Joshi. As the Congress did not contest the 2009 Lok Sabha poll from Kannauj, it was decided not fight the by-election too, has been the official line taken by the party leadership.
However, it is being said in political circles that the Congress' ‘friendly gesture' to Mr. Mulayam Singh is the result of a new-found bonhomie between the two, a far cry from the 2009 Firozabad by poll and the 2012 Assembly elections. It is also being rumoured that the Congress gesture is in appreciation of Mr. Singh's support in the Presidential election. Talk of a growing ‘closeness' between the Congress and the SP has been making the rounds ever since the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister graced the function to commemorate three years of the UPA government recently. Meanwhile, suspense continues on whether or not the BSP will contest the by-election, particularly in the backdrop of Ms. Mayawati's decision in 2011 not to contest by-elections to the Vidhan Sabha. There has been no official word from the BSP.