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The Akhilesh Yadav faction of the Samajwadi Party seems to be inching closer to sealing a deal with the Congress, even as the Election Commission is yet to decide on the fate of the SP and its symbol cycle.
While speculation about a pre-poll alliance has been in the air for some time now, hoardings of Kannauj MP Dimple Yadav, who is Akhilesh's wife, along with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra have come up in Allahabad - fuelling the speculation. The hoardings with pictures of both women figuring prominently have been put up by Congress workers - Anil Chowdhary and Irshad Ullah.
The slogan in the hoardings says "Mahilaon ka UP mein bajega danka, jab saath aayengi Dimple aur Priyanka" (Women in Uttar Pradesh will be empowered, when Dimple and Priyanka come together).
Ullah, who is general secretary of the district Congress committee in Allahabad, says the workers want this tie up to happen at the earliest as this would not only consolidate the woman power but also prevent division of Muslim vote. This will stop the BJP from coming to power, he says.
There are many votaries who favour the Congress and the Akhilesh faction to come together. Sources say, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has propped up his wife to negotiate with Priyanka Gandhi while he is working the wires with Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and his team.
Congress veterans like Ghulam Nabi Azad, state president Raj Babbar, party's Dalit face P.L. Punia, are opposed to any such ideas as they feel that this could cost Congress further as it will bring the anger of anti-incumbency along.
With both Congress and the Akhilesh faction facing an uncertain future in the forthcoming state assembly polls, it appears to be a necessity and a done thing.
Propping up of the woman power from both sides is likely to play a cementing force, insiders say.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)