Bengaluru: Former external affairs minister S M Krishna picked his home district and the hotbed of Vokkaliga politics, Mandya, on Saturday to shore up the support base of the BJP ahead of Lok Sabha elections, and sway his supporters to back Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying he "sincerely feels the country needs five more years of scam-free and corruption-free administration under the leadership of Mr Modi."
While candidly admitting that the BJP lacks a base in Mandya and that he would commence the groundwork beginning today, the veteran leader was proud of the fact that in recent Lok Sabha bypolls, BJP candidate Dr Siddaramaiah notched about 2.5 lakh votes, thanks to Mr Modi's charismatic leadership. "The BJP will field its own campaign. The campaign will be fairly organized, and we will be able to put up a good fight in Lok Sabha elections. Last time, Dr Siddaramaiah was chosen at the eleventh hour, none of us went to Mandya, and the time given was very short to campaign for him," he said while ruling out the possibility of himself or his kin contesting on a BJP ticket from Mandya or other constituencies.
Mr Krishna told Deccan Chronicle the party should nurture and encourage the second rung leadership in the state. "I am not interested in electoral politics. I must respect my age and allow the second rung of leadership to be created and encouraged. Those in charge of the party should think of identifying and promoting the second rung of leaders. With my campaign, my role ends. I will be back in Sadashivanagar (his home in Bengaluru's tony suburb)," he said, adding that despite the likelihood of Congress-JD (S) coalition striking a seat-sharing pact, people of the state would take a second look at Mr Modi's government and support him for another term at the helm. "I think the people will help us win 18-19 seats because the question of transfer of votes by Congress to JD(S) and vice versa, based on my experience of over five decades, is impossible," he added.
The veteran politician who has been chosen for an award named after late chief minister and architect of Vidhana Soudha, Kengal Hanumanthaiah, by Kannada Sahitya Parishat earlier this week, regretted the degeneration in politics compared to the era of political stalwarts like Mr Hanumanthaiah and late Mr S Nijalingappa.
"Where's the comparison? It's sickening what you read in politics today, specially coalition politics. Yes, if a coalition is knit before the elections with a minimum programme, that's a different story. But coming together post polls becomes artificial and opportunistic. I watched on TV, the alacrity with which they (Congress and Dal (S)) went to Raj Bhavan to stake claim to form the government." When asked how he could decry a coalition as he too was a minister in the Congress-led UPA coalition, he remarked "I read a lot about scams those years. Yes, it was a coalition, and everybody including those in power knew what went on. Now, the Mahagatbandhan has taken shape with many regional parties, and I consider it a hydra-headed monster because nobody knows who's the head. We don't know who the head is, we don't know who's the alternative to Mr Narendra Modi. That's why I call it a negative factor. The parties should put forth the PM candidate and seek votes for him. Otherwise, we saw what happened in 1996, 1997, and 1998, with governments lasting some months and the country going for fresh polls," he added.