With Samajwadi Party facing a rebellion from Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav over ticket distribution, its supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav has called a meeting of all the candidates allotted tickets amid hectic efforts to stave off a possible split in the ruling party of Uttar Pradesh.
The crisis reached a flash point late Thursday night after Akhilesh "circulated" his own list of 235 candidates for the Assembly elections, the schedule for which is likely to be announced any day now.
Shivpal Yadav, the warring uncle of Akhilesh, drove to the residence of his brother and SP chief Mulayam.
The two were closeted for nearly an hour, but it was not immediately known what transpired at the meeting as Shivpal did not answer questions of reporters waiting outside Mulayam's residence.
Mulayam has convened a meeting on Saturday of the 325 candidates who have been allotted tickets by him.
Party insiders said the meeting was very crucial as the SP chief was likely to gauge the sentiments of the candidates and conduct a fresh review of the list amid fears that the battle for control in SP left the party cadres divided and highly confused at grassroots level.
The meeting will be held against the backdrop of the open rebellion by Akhilesh, who "circulated" his own list of candidates for 235 seats against the official nominees announced by Mulayam.
The list, which did not carry any signature, was made available on social media by defiant party MLAs who failed to get a ticket in the official list.
As the SP grappled with the unprecedented crisis, senior leader and UP Minister Azam Khan voiced deep distress over the developments and said, "Bad blood between relatives has damaged the future of the state."
He said the feud in SP was being "celebrated" by its political rivals, especially Bharatiya Janata Party.