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Home > News > Report

Karnataka: 'Hi-tech' Krishna on a comeback?

Vicky Nanjappa | December 03, 2007 21:22 IST

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Will elections-2008 herald the return of former chief minister, S M Krishna, to Karnataka?

With elections round the corner following the dissolution of the Karnataka assembly, a section of the Congress is making all efforts to ensure that Krishna returns to active politics in the state.

Krishna left Karnataka to take over as Maharashtra Governor following his party's debacle in the 2004 elections. Although the Congress lost major ground in the polls, it still managed to form the government with the help of the Janata Dal-S.

The only condition laid down by the JD-S before offering support was to keep Krishna at a safe distance from the state's political scenario. Following this, several attempts were made by Krishna's loyalists to ensure his return to the party, but several within the party managed to scuttle these attempts.

Today, with the stage set for elections several leaders within the Congress feel Krishna could be their savior. Krishna has the charm and can woo the urban voter they feel. A delegation also met with Sonia Gandhi [Images] to urge her to appoint Krishna as the president of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee.

However, Krishna's return is not going to be as easy. He has severe opposition within his party and the faction led by Mallikarjun Kharge, the current president of the state Congress, is even vocal about it.

Another group, which owes allegiance to Kharge, has also decided to meet party president Sonia Gandhi to convince her against making any change in the state leadership.

Kharge's opposition to Krishna began when the latter beat him to the CM's post. Ever since, things between the two Congress bigwigs have not been cordial. So, it is a 50-50 game for the Maharashtra governor.

Krishna had several times in the past complained about getting bored at the Raj Bhavan and had also said that his heart lay in Karnataka. So what are the advantages and disadvantages of bringing the "Hi-Tech" chief minister back to Karnataka.

Among the advantages would be that he would be able to woo the urban voter, especially in Bangalore. Portraying him as the chief ministerial candidate would ensure more investments into the state, as he is very investor-friendly.

Krishna's return to state politics could also have a slight bearing on the Vokkaliga community votes across the state and this would mean that he could manage to eat a bit into the H D Deve Gowda's vote bank.

Krishna's return has its flip-side too. His popularity has dipped considerably in the Mandya and Maddur belts, which incidentally happen to be his home town. To escape being convicted for contempt of court, he had released water to Tamil Nadu despite proclaiming that he would not do so. Thanks to this, he did not even contest the polls from this area last time. Instead, he contested the polls from the Chamrajpet area in Bangalore.

Krishna's return would also mean that there would be no alliance with the JD-S. For Gowda, Krishna is a pet 'hate word' and as long as the latter is around, Gowda will never agree for an alliance.