Lucknow: Signalling a further intensification of the war within the Samjwadi Party, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, called a meeting of party's core group on Friday.
The meeting at his residence is expected to be attended by both the youth and senior leaders of the party.
The latest move by the CM comes a day after he released his own list of 235 candidates to counter the 'official list' released by his father and SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav.
By openly coming out against the party patriarch, Akhilesh appears to have made up his mind to vertically split the party and contest the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections on his own.
Yesterday, Akhilesh had held a meeting with his loyalists, including MLAs, who have been denied tickets.
Afterwards, SP MLA Indal Singh said, "Akhilesh is likely to announce his own list of candidates."
These candidates were likely to contest on a separate symbol, other than SP's 'Cycle' symbol, paving the way for a wide split in the party grappling with dissensions and unprecedented feud at a time when the crucial polls were knocking at the door.
The latest showdown, the worst in the last few months, reached a flashpoint after Mulayam publicly snubbed his son by announcing a list of candidates that created bitterness in the pro-CM camp, prompting the upset chief minister to take up the matter with the SP supremo to convey his strong displeasure over the choice of names.
"The Chief Minister called us. He instructed us to go to our respective constituencies and prepare for the elections," Indal Singh, SP MLAs from Malihabad, said after Akhilesh met legislators who were denied a ticket.
Akhilesh had yesterday met the Mulayam and conveyed the belligerent mood of those who did not get re-nomination.
Akhilesh was again closetted with his close confidants soon afterwards to decide the next course of action, while Mulayam summoned Shivpal to gauge the mood of rebels.
"We will go to our constituencies, work hard, and again make Akhilesh our CM," said another MLA, Pawan Pandey, whose ticket was cut. Pandey, although expelled from SP, continues to be a minister in the Akhilesh government.
"We will contest the upcoming elections, come what may," said a defiant MLA Atul Pradhan.
"The Chief Minister has done a lot for the development of the state and we will contest and win in his name," he said.
Mulayam's cousin and SP General Secretary Ramgopal Yadav added to the speculation by saying that many in the party do not want to see Akhilesh as chief minister again.
"But, the fact remains that people of the state want him back as CM," he claimed.
The factional feud in the Samajwadi Party came out in the open a day after Mulayam declared candidates for 325 of the 403 Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh and ruled out projecting Akhilesh as the Chief Ministerial candidate.