Congress Ready for Elections Any Time, But No Possibility of Early Polls in Karnataka: Siddaramaiah

Senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Monday said the party was ready to face elections in Karnataka at any point of time, but maintained that there is no possibility of early assembly polls. Amid speculations in the ruling BJP about the possible replacement of Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa and a purported audio clip indicating that it may become a reality going viral, the Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly said it is good that a “corrupt Chief Minister” is going.

“Congress is ready to face elections at any point of time,” he said in response to a question whether the party was ready in case the BJP is unable to handle its internal crisis. Speaking to reporters here, he said “I don’t feel that an early election will take place because if Yediyurappa is removed, another person will be made the Chief Minister.

We are ready to face the election whenever it comes.” The term of the current assembly ends in 2023. The Congress Legislature Party leader’s comments come at a time when an audio clip has surfaced, fuelling a new round of speculation on whether replacing the 78 year-old Chief Minister is on the cards.

The purported audio clip is about Karnataka BJP President Nalini Kumar Kateel hinting at a possible leadership change in the state, which he has dismissed as fake. Siddaramaiah, who has been saying for quite some time now that Yediyurappa will be replaced, said in response to a question on the audio clip that it is good that a corrupt Chief Minister is going.

“I had in the past said that CM will be changed… none of you (media) believed. I had information about this from the beginning. Also Yediyurappa’s is the most corrupt government. Both Yediyurappa and his son are corrupt,” he said.

Kateel might have spoken about the discussion that is going on at the high command level, but he has denied stating that it was not his voice, Siddaramaiah pointed out, adding that “There is no plus or minus because of Yediyurappa’s replacement..people will decide.” Meanwhile, not willing to comment on his scheduled visit to Delhi to meet the Congress high command, Siddaramaiah said party issues should be discussed at the party forum. Siddaramaiah and Karnataka Congress president D K Shivakumar are scheduled to leave for New Delhi on Monday night following a call from the high command.

The visit assumes significance following reports of one- upmanship between the two leaders, especially after a section of MLAs projected Siddaramaiah as the next chief minister if the Congress comes to power.

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