A day after he triggered rumours of a rift in the ruling coalition in Karnataka by declaring his wish to become the chief minister again, Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Saturday claimed he had said that his party would come to power after the next election, ANI reported. The state is currently being run by a coalition government of the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular).

The Congress leader had made the controversial remarks in Hadya village in Holenarasipur taluk. “I want to become the chief minister and I will,” he told reporters. “Many of my adversaries ganged up against me after the 2018 Assembly polls and I could not get the post. But politics is not stagnant. It will keep changing.”

Asked if he wanted to become the chief minister, Siddaramaiah said on Saturday: “If people bless me...in that programme they put forward demands. I said we will fulfil those after coming to power in next election.”

The Congress issued a statement, saying the coalition was not under threat and incumbent Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy would complete his term. “Yes, we want him [Siddaramaiah] to become chief minister again,” Revenue Minister and Congress leader R V Deshpande told Deccan Herald. “But he is not the one to unseat Kumaraswamy for this purpose.”

Water Resources Minister DK Shivakumar, who played an instrumental role in forming the coalition, said the decision to nominate Siddaramaiah as chief ministerial candidate again was up to the party.

Meanwhile, Kumaraswamy responded to the Congress leader’s statement, saying “anybody can become a chief minister in a democracy”, ANI reported.

In June, Siddaramaiah had to issue a clarification after he was heard talking sceptically about the coalition government completing its five-year term. The coalition was strong enough to stand the test of time, he had then said.