Although former Karnataka chief minister S.M. Krishna is in charge of what his handlers like to think is the weighty external affairs ministry, the consensus is that the “Son of Somanahalli” got the portfolio because he was considered a malleable lightweight who would just be glad he got the high-profile job and not come in the way of a prime minister who had made “foreign policy” his legacy issue.
(That, and the fact that the Congress high command had to repay him for his “contributions”.)
Nevertheless, Krishna’s MEA tenure has not been short of theatre. For starters, there was the well-advertised five-star stay in a hotel. Over the last few months, he has been bouncing into the public eye with one faux pas after another. In February, he read the speech of the Portugese foreign minister at the United Nations for a full three minutes; in June, got into a flap for extending an official trip to Britain to watch Wimbledon.
A fortnight ago ago, news of his threatening to sue The Times of India for mentioning his name as among those who would be indicted by the Lok Ayukta in the illegal mining scam, made it to TV news bulletins. Six days ago, the litigious advisors guarding his carefully coiffured image, advised him to threaten to sue the news agency PTI for calling him “absent-minded” in a news story which showed him, well, absent-minded in the Lok Sabha.
Now, as if to prove PTI right, Krishna has urged Pakistan to release an octagenarian doctor on humanitarian grounds, although the wheel-chair bound Dr Mohammed Khalil Chisti is lodged in a jail this of the border in Ajmer, Rajasthan. “We will, certainly pursue this at the level of the high commissioner,” he added.
Admittedly, one must take into account Krishna’s age. After all, at 79, he is the oldest member of the Manmohan Singh team. The fact that he still has the energy to fly off to distant countries speaks enormously of his stamina. Still, there is such a thing as calling a spade a bloody shovel, and it is clear that Krishna, used as he was to the kid-glove treatment at the hands of the Bangalore media, is being thoroughly exposed on the national stage.
What is the one question you are dying to ask the patron saint of IT-BT after his latest gaffe?
Like, is he the first human being who nods in agreement with what he is about to say? Like, does he demand frappe from his son-in-law’s Cafe Coffee Day whereever his work takes him? Like, is it true that he turned down the Oscar award this year for the best performance in a foreign language?
Please keep your queries short, civil and “G category”.