Indian politician Akhilesh Yadav sacked by his father Mulayam

Akhilesh Yadav, Chief Minister of the northern state of Uttar Pradesh and the son of Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, waves at his supporters during a Rath Yatra, or a chariot journey, as part of an election campaign in Lucknow, India on November 3, 2016. Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Akhilesh Yadav, chief minister of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, has been fired by his father

The chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, has been expelled from his political party by his own father.

Akhilesh Yadav was sacked in order to "save the party", Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said, according to Indian media reports.

The SP boss said the party will decide on the next chief minister.

Elections are expected to be announced in Uttar Pradesh in the coming days.

Mulayam's move came a day after his son released a list of 235 candidates for the upcoming polls, despite the party announcing its own choices earlier. The list reportedly included Akhilesh's supporters, and excluded some of his father's loyalists.

The younger Yadav's suspension will run for six years.

Mulayam Singh Yadav's cousin, senior party leader Ramgopal Yadav, was also expelled.

He earned the wrath of the party chief after announcing an emergency meeting of the SP on 1 January - which Mulayam said only he is entitled to do.

"Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav doesn't understand. Ramgopal is trying to weaken him," Mulayam told a press conference in the state capital, Lucknow.

There are reported to be 20-plus members of the Yadav family active in Indian politics. The bitter feud between them has been simmering for some years, prompting infighting and factionalism in the SP.

It is not clear whether Akhilesh will be forced from his post.

Some political analysts say he is more popular than his father, as he can reach beyond the caste boundaries that are prevalent in north Indian politics.

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