Out in cold, Krishna to work for Congress

Veteran leader quit to make way for young blood

Out in cold, Krishna to work for Congress

Outgoing External Affairs Minister S M Krishna on Saturday hinted that he will play an active role in strengthening the party in Karnataka, which will go to the polls before May next year.

Krishna, who resigned on Friday, told reporters that he would not hold any post either directly or indirectly in the party. As a Congress leader and worker he would work for strengthening the party to ensure its victory in the next Assembly polls.

 “I will participate in the election campaign and strive to bring the party back to power,” he said after meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a day after he quit the post.

Asked if he was going to Karnataka as a chief ministerial candidate in the event of Congress coming to power, Krishna said he would not aspire for any post.

“The party will never project any one as the chief minister candidate. When I was the Congress state unit president earlier, the party had not projected me as the chief minister candidate,” he stressed.

He said he opted for quit the post to make way for younger blood. “...the flavour of the season is that youngsters must take over the reins of responsibility and I felt that it was time up for me to make way for younger blood to take over. I am glad that this initiative has been by and large appreciated,” he said. To a question on whether the prime minister asked him to quit or he decided to step down, Krishna said: “The decision came from within. And my wife had a major role to play in the decision making.”

He also said that his decision to make way for younger blood does not denigrate the importance of experience. “This in no way denigrates the importance of experience. I think experience is an important attribute. And particularly in pursuing the foreign relations with other countries there has to be abundant patience and also perseverance,” he said.

The Congress leader also emphasised that there was no link between his resignation and the Lokayukta court order to probe his reported role in the Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises (Nice) expressway project. “The resignation and the court ruling are just co-incidence”, he said.

He also denied a media report that he would be made chairman of 14th Finance Commission.

“I am not aspiring for any post. I have already resigned from the ministership. The party has given me a lot. I always have a sense of detachment and not attachment’,” he said.
To a suggestion that his stint in the MEA was short, the former Karnataka chief minister said his tenure was for a “respectable” period.

There has been an all-round improvement in India’s relations both with its neighbours and other countries, he stated.

Krishna said he had a good understanding with his Pakistani and Chinese counterparts, Hina Rabbani Khar and Yang Jiechi respectively, Brazil’s Foreign Minister Antonio de Aguiar Patriota and South Africa’s Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

The veteran Congress leader also spoke warmly of Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, with whom he co-chaired three rounds of the India-US strategic dialogue.

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