SM Krishna has been a prominent Congress leader for nearly 50 years
Senior Congress leaders said they were unaware of his decision to quit
He is an ex-Karnataka Chief Minister and Union External Affairs Minister
Former Karnataka Chief Minister SM Krishna, who has quit the Congress, today dismissed speculations about changing camps and a possible meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The leader, who had been one of the towering figures of the Congress for nearly 50 years, had quit last night, miffed that he was being sidelined in the party. The senior leaders of the state Congress – including Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and state party chief G Parameshwara – had said they were unaware of Mr Krishna’s decision.
“I felt for some time that Congress doesn’t need me, the party now depends on situation managers. They do not want time-tested leaders and workers,” said Mr Krishna, who had served as a central minister under former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi and had been the External Affairs Minister in the Manmohan Singh government since 2009.
“I have won elections and have been defeated. According to me, age is a state of mind, age shouldn’t be a criteria, there are people who are young but not active,” said Mr Krishna, who had quit as the Governor of Maharashtra in 2008.
Aiming to return to active politics, he had toured the state extensively to campaign ahead of the 2013 assembly elections in the state, which the Congress won . “Nobody questioned my age then. Unfortunately it is somebody else who decides, not me,” he said.
Mr Krishna said many have asked him to reconsider, “But I stick to my decision of quitting Congress.”
While the next step is not decided, he said it was a time for “introspection” for him – a process that will involve family and friends. “I have no plans to meet the PM. All are speculations… I am not in a position to spell out what my future plan is,” Mr Krishna said.
But he made it clear that he was not planning to retire. “Retirement is not a word in my dictionary… I had said few years back that ‘a politician never retires he fades away’.