Shivpal Yadav was appointed president of the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday, reported ANI. He replaced Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav who has been the party's state president for more than four years.

The move comes at a time when Uttar Pradesh is gearing up for its Assembly elections next year. Earlier, Shivpal Yadav had announced the party’s first list of 142 candidates for the 2017 polls, reported the Hindustan Times. Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav will formally launch the SP’s poll campaign from his constituency Azamgarh on October 7.

According to The Indian Express, the move to make Shivpal Yadav the party’s state president was triggered by fears of an anti-incumbency vote against the ruling Samajwadi Party government.