Did poll-shy SM Krishna shoot himself in the foot?

After ex-CM declined to contest the 2014 LS polls, his ties with the high command soured.

Bengaluru: Taking a dig at former external affairs minister, S. M. Krishna's outbursts against the party for denying him a second consecutive Rajya Sabha term, a Congress leader observed that the former was to squarely blame for the mess which he created for himself as the party had asked him to contest one of the two Lok Sabha constituencies which it had zeroed in for him during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, a senior leader in the Congress disclosed that the party was very well aware of the fact that its chances were bleak in 2014, therefore, the party wanted the best of its leaders to contest and win at least a decent number of seats.

"But this objective got defeated as many stalwarts like Manish Tiwari, Mr Krishna and even P. Chidambaram who chose to field his son, did not contest. The party had zeroed in on two constituencies - Bengaluru South and Bengaluru North - to field Mr Krishna. The former CM at that time was angry with central leaders for dropping him from the Union cabinet and he also had two years of his Rajya Sabha tenure left. Therefore, he politely decline to contest stating his age and expressing "satisfaction" over his achievements.

He, however, openly sent a message that youngsters like actress Ramya had to be be groomed instead of depending on aged leaders like him. This signalled the end to his glorious association with the Gandhi family which he had nurtured for more than 45 years," the source explained.

This led to bitterness between the camp of AICC vice-president, Rahul Gandhi and all leaders who had refused to contest. "The bitterness was so evident that this camp ensured denial of RS tickets to such leaders who had aspired to be rehabilitated in the Upper House. Mr Krishna too figured in this category but he was probably one of the handful of leaders whom Mrs Gandhi herself called up to break the news," the source explained.

Former CM’s exit: Cong set to lose its Vokkaliga bastions?
The Congress leaders of Mysuru, chamarajnagar, mandya and Ramanagar, the stronghold of the Vokkaliga community, fear the impact of S.M. Krishna’s exit on the party prospects in the coming 2018 Assembly polls.

Mandya District Congress Committee President and former minister, M.S. Atmanand admits to the impact on the party due to Mr Krishna's exit. "Definitely, it will have a bearing as both Mr G Made Gowda and Mr Krishna had built Congress for almost three decades in this region. Mr Krishna has been the face of the Vokkaliga community though he did not identify with it all these years. It will be very difficult to say who all will follow Mr Krishna by resigning from the party. I think the party leaders will come out with a new strategy to face the coming Assembly elections sans Mr Krishna".

Meanwhile, a Congress legislator from Ramanagara predicted a whitewash of the party in the 2018 Assembly polls. He told Deccan Chronicle that Mr Krishna's exit would damage the party prospects in the coming elections since the latter held huge sway over his community.

The Congress would have an uphill task in all four districts where the Vokkaligas hold the key. Firstly, the Congress unceremoniously removed Mr M.H. Ambareesh from the minister's post. Now, it was the turn of Mr Krishna to get a raw deal from the high command. By doing all this, Vokkaliga voters were getting alienated from the Congress, he added.

Another Congress leader of Mandya said educated voters would now think twice before voting for the Congress in the wake of Mr Krishna's outburst against party leaders. The Congress would have been nowhere had Mr Krishna not worked tirelessly in all previous elections, despite the influence of former PM and JD(S) National President H.D. Deve Gowda.

None can underestimate the reach of Mr Krishna among Vokkaliga voters. In fact, Mr Krishna was acceptable among all the communities and he never identified with his community all these years. Already, several leaders were thinking of tendering resignation from the Congress en masse protesting against the treatment meted out to their leader. A lot of political developments would unfold in the coming days, said sources.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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