Bangalore: After keeping everybody in the state guessing for months, former Chief Minister and External Affairs Minister SM Krishna is now vigorously campaigning for the Congress. SM Krishna, who has been in the electoral politics since 1962 is campaigning for a record 12th time.
SM Krishna and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, who are the two senior most political leaders of Karnataka are once again campaigning against each others party in the Vokkaliga dominated Old Mysore region.
The veteran leader SM Krishna spoke to CNN-IBN on Tuesday and made it clear that he is not in the race for the post of Chief Minister. But, he added in the same breath that he is not going to retire.
"I feel sufficiently confident to predict that the Congress will be able to form a government in Karnataka on its own," said Krishna.
Here is the full text of the interview:
CNN-IBN: You have been extensively campaigning for the Congress. What are expectations? What are the chances of the party?
SM Krishna: Well I think the people of Karnataka have made up their mind for a change. They want change and I feel sufficiently confident to predict that the Congress will be able to form a government on its own.
CNN-IBN: Don't you agree that the Congress may benefit from negative voting against the BJP? Some say that there is not a big pro-Congress wave in Karnataka.
SM Krishna: The thing in every election as you know there is what is known as the anti incumbency vote. So that could also be and that could only strengthens my argument that there is every chance for a congress government to come.
CNN-IBN: The Congress claims that it is fighting the elections on collective leadership. Who will be the Chief Minister, if your party is voted to power?
SM Krishna: There is a set process for the election of the leader. This is not the first time ever the congress. As and when it gets a majority, they will have to elect a leader and then he will become a chief minister eventually. So there is a set process, there is a procedure, there are conventions in the congress party and we go by those conventions.
CNN-IBN: Are you in the race for the CM post? Many of your supporters want you to stake claim.
SM Krishna: No I am not expecting anything from the party. I have got everything from the party. So this is the time for me to give back to the party whatever I can.
CNN-IBN: If the Congress comes to power, would you be giving advice to the new government? The Prime Minister has praised your government in his election speeches.
SM Krishna: Well they could look through the records of those years and then draw whatever inspiration they can and I am grateful to the prime minister for whatever references he has made.
CNN-IBN: You have one more year left in the Parliament. Any plans for the future?
SM Krishna: I am looking forward to the completion of that one year then I will plan what to do next.
CNN-IBN: Are you trying to send out a message that 'you are neither tired, nor retired'?
SM Krishna: No. No. A politician does not retire, and I still stick to it. We only fade away.