Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Saturday asked leaders of the party's Gautam Budh Nagar unit to not support the Samajwadi party (SP) or the Bahujan Samaj party (BSP) in the coming Lok Sabha polls.
Gandhi's direction to the leaders comes two days after Congress candidate from Gautam Budh Nagar, Ramesh Chand Tomar ditched his party and joined the BJP.
The Congress now has no candidate in fray from the Gautam Budh Nagar seat.
Since the process of filing nomination was already over on March 24, the Congress cannot field a new candidate, a situation that has led to a lot of resentment among its supporters.
"We met Soniaji, who urged party supporters to vote against communal forces and follow their own heart. She asked us not to support the SP or the BSP, which are corrupt and promote caste-based politics," said Dhirendra Singh, Congress spokesperson from UP.
The latest move by the Congress — which had bagged 1.5 lakh votes during the 2009 general elections — of not supporting the SP and BSP may benefit the BJP.
Both the SP and the BSP were working to woo Congress support to gain a perception point, but both the parties had so far remained unsuccessful in doing so.
Congress supporters have also demanded action against those who helped Tomar in getting a ticket from Gautam Budh Nagar. Many local Congress supporters had opposed Tomar's candidature on the grounds that he had links with the Rashtriya Swayam sewak Sangh and could harm the party.
"If our party does not initiate action against those who got helped Tomar get a ticket, then we will sit on a dharna. Tomar's entry into the BJP fold at the last minute has left supporters frustrated and annoyed," said Singh.
Congress party workers also convened a meeting on Saturday at the party's Greater Noida office on the issue and demanded stern action against their party leaders who lobbied for Tomar's ticket.
"Dozens of party leaders, who were eligible for a ticket as they had worked hard in the last five years, were denied at the cost of one man. That man dumped the party, and breached the trust of thousands of party supporters, leaving them with no choice in this important poll battle," a Congress worker said.