Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Friday said he would not contest the upcoming state Assembly elections, The Economic Times reported. Akhilesh Yadav, who is a member of the state’s Legislative Council, said the decision would allow him to campaign across Uttar Pradesh.

Akhilesh Yadav’s remarks came a short while before his father and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav expelled him from the party for six years. Mulayam Singh also expelled Ram Gopal Yadav, Akhilesh Yadav’s uncle, from SP for six years for indiscipline and speaking against the party to the media.

The chief minister told The Economic Times that he did not want to “split the party”. “We are trying to resolve [our] differences,” he had said. “We must work to not let the Bharatiya Janata Party come to power at any cost.” Akhilesh Yadav further said that he would only contest the elections with his father’s blessings. “Every candidate will contest only after taking Netaji’s [Mulayam’s] blessings,” he had said.

He was expelled from the Samajwadi Party soon after Mulayam Singh issued a showcause notice to him for releasing his own list of candidates for the Uttar Pradesh polls, expected to be held in February. The chief minister’s supporters held demonstrations in various parts of the state to protest against his expulsion. Protestors raised slogans against the decision and burned effigies of Akhilesh’s uncle Shivpal Yadav, with whom the chief minister has been in a feud in recent months. He will meet party lawmakers and supporters at his 5 Kalidas Marg home in Lucknow on Saturday.

SP spokesperson Juhi Singh also resigned from her post in support of the chief minister. Both Akhilesh Yadav and Mulayam Singh are expected hold meetings with party legislators over the weekend, in what is being seen as a show of strength for both sides, according to NDTV.

Akhilesh Yadav had released a list of 235 candidates on Thursday, a day after his father had named his nominees for 325 of the state’s 404 Assembly seats, denying tickets to several ministers who supported the chief minister. Announcing the expulsion, Mulayam Singh accused his son of not consulting him before releasing his list. “We will decide the chief ministerial candidate for Uttar Pradesh,” he had said.

The Samajwadi Party has faced infighting since September, when Shivpal Yadav was appointed the state SP chief. Akhilesh Yadav had then relieved Shivpal, his uncle, of his Cabinet portfolios, once in September and again in November. Despite intervention from Mulayam Singh, the rift in the party has remained, with Akhilesh Yadav’s supporters reportedly functioning independently out of a separate office in Lucknow.