Cong ready to face early polls in K'taka: Chauhan

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Bangalore, Jan 27 (UNI) Dismissing allegations of the Congress wanting a delay in the mid-term elections to the Karnataka Assembly, State Party In-charge and Union Minister Prithviraj Chauhan today said his party was in favour of early polls.

The first-ever BJP Government in the South collapsed within a week of assuming power in November last following its coalition partner JD(S) refusing to support the saffron party.

Speaking to the mediapersons after formally inviting eight Former MLAs belonging to Siddramaiah Group, who left JD(S) to join the ongress, Mr Chauhan said, ''We are ready for the polls whenever the Election Commission deems it fit to be conducted.'' ''We are not shying away from early elections and we are in no way trying to delay it,'' he said.

The BJP had accused the Congress of 'conspiring' to delay the elections in the guise of bringing about the delimitation of Assembly segments and booths to neutralise the 'sympathy wave' blowing in its favour.

''The delimitation process will have to happen and all parties will have to accept it. There has been a lot of change in the pattern of both urban and rural electorate and deprived classes like the Scheduled Tribes should get their due. However, whether the delimitation process is implemented or not, the Congress is ready to face the elections. Actually we want it to be held early,'' Mr Chauhan said.

He further said the delimitation of constituencies can be a problem for all parties and it was not right to say that it would favour the Congress alone.

''This process should not be delayed. Anyway, it is left to the Central Government to take the final decision on its timing,'' he stressed.

Dismissing the chances of the Bahujan Samaj Party making inroads into the South Mr Chauhan said, ''They had contested last time in Karnataka and we have seen the results.

''This time, too, they will manage only a few thousand votes wherever they contest. The BSP cannot make any dent to the Congress in South,'' he claimed.

Though party, led by firebrand leader Mayawati, had taken less than two per cent of votes during the 2004 elections, it had wreaked the chances of Congress retaining power in Karnataka as margin of losses for its candidates in over 50 constituencies was very small.

UNI RS GM PY VC2358

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