A year before the Congress-ruled Karnataka decides it's course, the BJP today got a shot in the arm with the long-pending induction of SM Krishna, known to most as former Congressman, Foreign Affairs Minister and the Chief Minister of Karnataka. Excerpts of a conversation he had with India Today TV's Jugal R Purohit.
Q. Your comments on the absurdity witnessed in the Congress party's post poll strategies in Goa and Manipur.
SM Krishna: Seems to me that Congress party is in a state of confusion. There is no sense of leadership. Thereby they do not have a strategy worth its name.
Q. Many including those from the BJP have stated the need for a credible opposition for our democracy to function.
SMK: In a healthy democracy, a reasonably stable and constructive opposition is the most ideal. Am afraid the Congress as it is today and the kind of leadership it has, it is really equipped the fulfill the role to play the role of opposition let alone constructive opposition. There are a few articulate voices and they will keep articulating but the party is incoherent and no strategy.
Q. There is talk that you jumped ship because the Congress did not a provide to you the Chief Ministerial position
SMK: Long abandoned the idea of being Karnataka Chief Minister again under the Congress. When I was asked to resign from Governorship of Maharashtra, it was assured that I would be made the CM and in 2008 I would lead the party but unfortunately when I resigned, I wanted to do a roadshow from Belgaum to Bangalore to start another winning campaign but persons who did not like the idea prevented me and that sealed the party's fate. So I have no illusions of becoming the CM and then after working as the External Affairs Minister, I have given it up altogether.
Q: What role do we see SM Krishna playing with elections in Karnataka around the corner?
SMK: My role is left to BJP leadership, I will try my best.
Q: Should the BJP project a CM face going into Karnataka state elections?
SMK: I think whether to project a CM face or not for the party strategists to decide.
Q: You have ruled yourself out however?
SMK: I am not interested in becoming the Chief Minister. I am out of state politics. I am very clear.
Q: So national politics is the arena you wish to focus on?
SMK: Naturally I have been in national politics and I would like to contribute in the national politics.
Q: The manifestation of BJP's agenda in UP has alarmed many. Then there are those who say the BJP is a party which directly impacts the discourse over tolerance. You have opposed the BJP all these years.
SMK: Tolerance is something that PM Modi has been showing in his deliberations. In the last two and a half years there has been no incident where anyone has been discriminated against on the basis of caste, religion or state and that inclusiveness that PM is out to assure because he speaks for 125 crore Indians. These are all aberrations and not the larger picture.
Q: You mentioned how the Congress did not respect age but am sure you are aware of 75 years being an unwritten cut off limit in the BJP, something the likes of Yashwant Sinha have opposed firmly in the past.
SMK: If I am aspiring for something then these doubts and questions arise but if I am not aspiring for anything these things do not cross my mind. My joining is because I like what he is doing. That is the single factor. I supported demonitisation which was in the interest of our economy, I like surgical strikes because that is the only language Pakistan understands. Digital India, Swacch Bharat mission, programmes initiated are dear to my heart and these programmes have drawn me. When someone is doing an excellent job necessary for right thinking men to support and make things move faster.
WRITER IS A SENIOR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT WITH INDIA TODAY TV AND TWEETS @JRPUR