CHURUMURI POLL: Can S.M. Krishna swing it?

For more than two years now, news of Maharashtra governor S.M. Krishna‘s return to “active politics” in Karnataka has sustained many a journalistic byline. Hot tips of a coming Union cabinet portfolio if not an ambassadorial posting have been fed by Krishna’s media minders with boring predictability. And so it was on Maha Shivaratri 2008, when news filtered in from Bombay that the former Karnataka chief minister was headed back to his home-state.

This time, though, it was more than just a rumour with Krishna formally putting in his papers, even as the Election Commission looks increasingly likely to call for assembly elections in end-May. But the irony could not be more striking. Krishna was the man who led the Congress to a debacle in 2004, and four years later he is being projected as the saviour who could energise the moribund party and bring it back to power.

Questions: Will S.M. Krishna be able to resuscitate the Congress? Or will his late-entry only further weigh down the Grand Old Party which has at least half-a-dozen aspirants to the chief minister’s gaddi? Does the 76-year-old Krishna with his “hi-tech” image have the required charisma to swing voters towards the Congress again? Or having seen the rousing leadership of Dharam Singh and H.D. Kumaraswamy and B.S. Yediyurappa, is Krishna just the man that voters are pining for? And, if the Congress wins, will Krishna become chief minister again?

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

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