BENGALURU: Will former external affairs minister S.M. Krishna spring a surprise by announcing the launch of an apolitical outfit on Sunday?
Amid speculation that the veteran politician, whose career straddles over five decades, might join the BJP and meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 6, sources said he is likely to announce a new entity which could later be converted into a political party.
The leader, however, seems determined to bid goodbye to the Congress and minced no words when KPCC president Dr G Parameshwar and several ministers called on him at his residence late on Saturday in an effort to prevent him from quitting the party.
While Congress leaders close to the leader's family insisted that he would announce his plans to retire from politics, another close associate told Deccan Chronicle that Mr Krishna would spring a surprise by announcing his new venture.
The contours of this new venture would be announced on Sunday. He reportedly consulted key personalities of the civil society and worked on his next course of action before taking a decision to quit the party.
Sources in the party said he tried to salvage party's image in the state and met Congress president Sonia Gandhi three or four times to give his feedback about the performance of the government.
The central leadership, however, did not heed his advice. Besides, he was also sidelined by Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah, who also ensured that his supporters were not given key positions while appointing chairpersons of state owned boards and corporations.
Mr Krishna was also ridiculed by some party leaders that he got plum posts and should not aspire more. They virtually challenged that his innings had come to an end. "He took this as a challenge. He consulted people from various strata of the society. This is the result of six month's hard work," sources explained.
Miffed SM Krishna calls it quit
Evidently miffed with party leaders on being sidelined, former external affairs minister and veteran Congress leader, Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna, is likely to announce his retirement from politics on Sunday.
While unconfirmed reports suggested that he would resign from the party, sources close to the leader's family were of the view that he might not resign from the party, but retire from active politics. This move would put the lid on rumours of him joining any other political party.
Mr Krishna reportedly informed Congress president Sonia Gandhi about his decision to retire from active politics. With his retirement, he would cease to be a member of the Congress party.
Sources told Deccan Chronicle that he was upset with Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah, and many of his confidants. During recent appointment of chairpersons to state-owned boards and corporations, his nephew Gurucharan was given the chairman post of Mysuru Electrical Company though Mr Krishna had asked him to take up the responsibility of any good board. Mr Gurucharan, who attended office twice after his appointment, stopped attending office. Mr Siddaramaiah had intentionally ignored the requests of all supporters of Mr Krishna while making appointments to various boards and corporations and this hurt him a lot, sources added.
During his career spanning more than five decades, Mr Krishna, 84, held several key positions in Union and state governments as well as the party. He served as member of the ministries of cabinet of the late Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Mr Rajiv Gandhi and Dr Manmohan Singh, Governor of Maharashtra, Chief Minister of Karnataka, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, and president of KPCC.
A Full Bright who graduated from the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas and The George Washington University Law School in Washington D.C, Mr Krishna was first elected to the Legislative Assembly in 1962, and continued as MLA, MLC or MP till 2014.
An inveterate tennis fan, Mr Krishna played the game even after he turned 80, and often travelled abroad to watch matches at The Wimbledon, French Open, US Open and Australian Open championships.