Senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah today said the party was ready to face elections in Karnataka at any time but maintained that there is no possibility of early Assembly polls in the state.
Amid speculations in the ruling BJP about the possible replacement of Chief Minister BS 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 on whether the party was ready in case the BJP is unable to handle its internal crisis.
Speaking to reporters, Siddaramaiah said, "I don't feel that an early election will take place because if BS 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.
"I had in the past said that Chief Minister will be changed... none of you (media) believed. I had information about this from the beginning. Also, BS Yediyurappa's is the most corrupt government. Both he and his son are corrupt," Siddaramaiah said.
Nalini Kumar 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, "There is no plus or minus because of BS Yediyurappa's replacement..people will decide."
Siddaramaiah and Karnataka Congress president DK Shivakumar are scheduled to leave for New Delhi tonight following a call from the high command.
The visit assumes significance following reports of oneupmanship between the two leaders, especially after a section of MLAs projected Siddaramaiah as the next chief minister if the Congress comes to power.