There’s love in hate even when the Congress and the Samajwadi Party are not in the same boat. They fight each other, but keep off each other’s home turf. For, they swear by the same ideology.
This time, since the SP has come out of the UPA, they will fight a bitter battle for every inch of land in Uttar Pradesh, albeit four seats — Rae Bareli, Amethi, Mainpuri and Kannauj.
The reason: While Rae Bareli and Amethi are Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s pocket boroughs, Mainpuri is Mulayam’s citadel and Kannauj is daughter-in-law Dimple’s seat.
The arithmetic is simple: They do not put candidates against each other’s immediate family members or put ‘dummy’ candidates, who stand for elections without any intention of winning them.
Even before the SP was founded in 1992, Mulayam, as Janata Dal state president, did not put any candidate against then Congress chief Indira Gandhi.
In 2009, Mulayam did not field any candidate against Sonia Gandhi, although in 2004 and 2006 by-polls in Rae Bareli, Mulayam put “dummy” candidates against her, instead of allowing an absolute walkover.
The Congress, however, violated the pact once by fielding SP defector Raj Babbar against Dimple Yadav in Firozabad Lok Sabha by-poll. Dimple lost, but SP still had not put a candidate against Rahul Gandhi in 2009.
But Akhilesh Yadav, as the SP state president, was in no mood to let it be.
He said, “Rahul (Gandhi) drew first blood. We would reply.” The SP swept away eight of the 10 assembly seats in Rae Bareli and Amethi in the 2012 polls.
But the Congress was the first to restore the pact.
When Dimple contested the LS by-poll for the second time in 2012 in Kannauj, Congress was the first one to announce a walkover.
Everybody followed, the Mulayam bahu walked away with the seat unopposed.
Mulayam had responded to Congress’ gesture a month after Dimple’s election.
While appointing observers for the Lok Sabha constituencies in UP for preparation and candidate selection, he did not appoint anybody for Rae Bareli and Amethi.
Recently, when the Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav was asked at a press conference whether he would not put candidates against Sonia and Rahul, he shot back: “Why don’t you go and ask them (Sonia and Rahul) as to why did not they put a candidate against Dimple (for the Kannauj) seat?”