POLLCAST: Is S.M. Krishna already chief minister?

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S.M. Krishna may himself be very unsure of his position in the event of a Congress victory in the elections.

But the English news channels all seem to have unanimously crowned him the next chief minister of Karnataka. And they are acting as if it’s just a small matter of formality for the people to go and cast their vote as per their indication.

When CNN-IBN unveiled its pre-poll survey predicting a Congress win, Rajdeep Sardesai had S.M. Krishna interpreting the good news for the party.

When NDTV 24 x 7 did a special program on Bangalore last night, Sreenivasan Jain had S.M. Krishna as the link between the city’s past and future.

When Sagarika Ghose decided to look at Bangalore versus Karnataka last week, again S.M. Krishna offered his calm and considered views on the subject.

In NDTV’s promos for Saturday’s first phase of polling, Prannoy Roy pronounces that it’s a battle between S.M. Krishna and H.D. Deve Gowda.

And all the opinion polls have S.M. Krishna’s name up front in the list of aspirants.

So, it is S.M. Krishna, S.M. Krishna, S.M. Krishna.

Hand it to him, the Man from Maddur is nothing if not media savvy and he knows how to plonk himself in the media limelight.

When the Hogenakal row was blazing, he rushed to Delhi to meet the prime minister and was giving the first interviews as if he was already chief minister.

When Ramakrishna Hedge‘s daughter went to file her nomination papers, he was helpfully in the camera frame.

Krishna sends bouquets to editors on their birthdays, he is always on call for interviews and quotes.

Why, he even earned the undying gratitude of scores of journalists when he gifted them expensive house sites under the “G” category.

So all that image-building and public relations is coming of use to him in this hour of need.

And to his good luck, none of his other senior colleagues Dharam Singh or Mallikarjuna Kharge or Siddaramaiah are endowed with such public relations skills.

Nor do they have the draw.

And truth to tell, of all the Congress characters on display, S.M. Krishna, where you like it or not, is probably the most telegenic of them all.

At least he can speak slow halting English, which is a prerequirement on our news channels.

And for another, he wears nice FabIndia™ kurtas which look better than the crumpled khadi jubbas and polyester shirts the rest of his tribe.

And, he has his hair in place, with a nice IT halo around it, all the time.

Above all, given the tragicomedy that Karnataka politics has been in recent years, at least the man represents something, even if some bits of it are massively tainted with corruption, nepotism and plain goondagiri.

S.M. Krishna probably will not grudge the media attention, probably he craves to be promoted as the face of the future although he is a full 76 years of age.

But if it is all so clear to the media that Krishna is the next CM, why isn’t it so clear to the Congress?

After he quit as Maharashtra’s governor and returned, the Congress kept him on the tenterhooks and didn’t give him a ticket.

And one well placed Congress source says the party has decided at the “highest level” that he will not get a chance to sit in the Vidhana Soudha again.

So what is the key takeaway from the media’s S.M. Krishna overkill?

That the Congress wants to use his suave, urbane, “image” and he is happy to allow them do so?

That there are two elections taking place, one for Bangalore and one for the rest of the state?

That one election is taking place in English, and the other in Kannada?

Be that as it may, can S.M. Krishna, after the 2004 verdict, still afford to be looked at as a chief minister of Bangalore if not the chief minister of electronic city?

Can he afford to be looked at as the media darling who fights from the cool comfort of air-conditioned studios, while his colleagues slug it out in the heat and dust?

Can he afford, really, to just woo the English masses, the so-called IT crowd?

And can the Congress afford to put all its urban eggs in one basket?

Also read: Can S.M. Krishna swing it for Congress?

Watch the video: S.M. Krishna on the release of Dr Raj Kumar