While Krishna wore many hats in his 46-year stint with the Congress, he is best remembered as Karnataka’s CM between 1999 and 2004.

Bengalureans recall the giant in Karnataka politics as SM Krishna bids adieu to the Congress PTI
news Politics Monday, January 30, 2017 - 19:50

With former Chief Minister SM Krishna announcing his departure from the Congress party, political circles in Karnataka were abuzz with whether it meant the end of the 84-year-old’s political innings.

In his 46-year-long stint with the Congress, SM Krishna has worn a number of hats, including that of External Affairs Minister. But it’s his tenure as Karnataka Chief Minister between 1999 and 2004 that many in the state most remember about the veteran leader.

Calling him a “giant” in Karnataka politics, Mohandas Pai, Chairman of Manipal Global Education puts him in the same league as former Chief Ministers Veerendra Patil and Deve Gowda. “He is gentleman above all. He is very open and liberal. He thought of the future and didn’t get sucked into communal or casteist politics,” notes Mohandas.

The educationist adds that Krishna gave a great push to IT and urbanisation during his tenure and was instrumental in giving Karnataka a positive image in the outside world. Mohandas points out, “He encouraged citizen participation and as a CM didn’t play party politics like others. I’m sad to see the end of his innings. Karnataka will always be grateful.”

 Dinesh Gundu Rao, KPCC Working President, however, termed Krishna’s decision to quit the Congress “unfortunate”. He says, “It is a totally wrong decision.  The party has provided him all opportunities. We all feel let down by what he’s done.”

Although Dinesh acknowledged that Krishna had done a good job as CM, he observes, “The way he has spoken on Sunday has made me lose the respect I had for him. At the age of 84, he is saying he is being ignored. How can he say this when all positions were given to him in the party and government? At this age for him to say this, it is a sad situation.”

Urbanist Ashwin Mahesh points out that careers need to come to a natural end, whether in politics or otherwise.  Speaking about Krishna’s contribution for the state, Ashwin says, “To a certain degree, economic competitive growth was given a certain boost during his tenure.” He also says that the Congressman may have been the first CM who was comfortable with “cosmopolitan-ness”. He says, “He was comfortable with change. The world is changing at a rapid pace and there are not many political leaders who are comfortable with that.”