Till this morning, there were two candidates, both independent, who were preparing to take on Dimple Yadav
, in the Lok Sabha election from Kannauj. By noon, there were none. So Mrs Yadav, 35, who is married to Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh, is all set to be elected unopposed to the Indian parliament.
Nobody is surprised. All major parties had decided to skip the election. The Congress did not field a candidate as a political courtesy - it is of late more reliant than ever on Mr Yadav's father, Mulayam, to support the Congress-led coalition at the Centre. Mr Yadav provides external support to the coalition in Delhi, but lately, there have been suggestions that he may decide to join the government, replacing Mamata Banerjee, who has been at odds with a slew of government policies and decisions.
The main opposition party in Uttar Pradesh - Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party or BSP - is sitting out the Kannauj election too. Mr Yadav's energetic campaign, his youth (at 39, he is the state's youngest chief minister) and his charisma intersected with the state's frustration with Mayawati's misgovernance and the corruption in her administration. The result was a powerful victory for Mr Yadav, who was made the leader of the government, allowing his father to focus on finding a bigger role for their Samajwadi Party at the national level.
The BJP announced a candidate at the last minute but he failed to file his nomination papers in time. The party claimed Mr Yadav's supporters had prevented its candidate from reaching the required office, but the fact is that UP's honeymoon period with Mr Yadav is in its early stages, and other parties know that barring a miracle, their candidates stand no chance against his wife.
Mrs Yadav is no stranger to defeat, however. In 2009, she contested the Lok Sabha election from another constituency, Firozabad, only to be rejected by voters. Then, like now, she inherited her constituency from her husband. In 2009, Mr Yadav fought the Lok Sabha election from both Kannauj and Firozabad. He chose to represent the former. The latter was then up for a by-election. The Congress chose then to field actor-politician Raj Babbar. Senior leader Rahul Gandhi campaigned for him. His victory was doubly painful for Mr Yadav because Mr Babbar had quit his party to join the Congress.
After being made chief minister, Mr Yadav had to give up being a Lok Sabha MP to be a member of the state legislature. Mrs Yadav was declared his party's candidate. She had told voters earlier this week that as the chief minister's wife, she is in the best position to help them and make a difference. She will now have to make good on that promise.