Bengaluru, Nov 6 (PTI) Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday said many BJP and JD(S) legislators, leaders and workers will be joining the Congress in the state voluntarily in the coming days, and asserted that his party was not indulging in "Operation Hasta".
He also maintained that the Congress high command would decide whether there should be a change of chief minister in the state or not -- amid demands for it from some quarters -- after the government headed by Siddaramaiah completes two-and-a-half years.
Speaking to reporters here, he said many people from the BJP and JD(S), including sitting MLAs, ex-MLAs, leaders and workers, are coming over to the Congress -- without any kind of push from the ruling party.
"There is no question of doing 'Operation Hasta', we will induct whoever comes to the party. No 'Hasta', No Operation. Whoever comes to the party accepting our party ideology and leadership -- whether they are from BJP or JD(S) -- can we say no?," Siddaramaiah said in response to a question.
Operation 'Hasta' (the hand, Congress's symbol) -- like BJP's Operation Lotus -- refers to an alleged attempt by the Congress to engineer the defection of opposition legislators to further strengthen the party and ensure the government's stability.
Siddaramaiah spoke about a recent breakfast meeting with his cabinet colleagues and said that district in-charge ministers and MLAs have been asked to ensure the Congress candidate's victory in their respective regions.
Reacting to a purported comment by a BJP leader about a change of Chief Minister in the state, either before or after the Parliament polls, Siddaramaiah asked, "Why is he commenting on our party matter? We have a high command to decide. Who is he to say?" Siddaramaiah's statement last week that he would remain Chief Minister for a full five-year term did not go down well with some in the Congress circles, with several party legislators and ministers commenting about it.
However, subsequently blaming the media for misquoting him, Siddaramaiah clarified that he would adhere to whatever decision the high command takes. PTI KSU RS KSU ANE