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Krishna accepts responsibility for defeat

By Our Special Correspondent

BANGALORE, MAY 13. It was with humility that the Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna, today acknowledged that the people of the State had rejected the Congress in the Assembly elections.

Without trying to explain away the defeat, he accepted responsibility for the defeat as he had led the party's election campaign and took the decision to advance the elections, which were due only in September-October.

Addressing presspersons at the Media Centre here after submitting his resignation to the Governor, T.N. Chaturvedi, he pinpointed the three consecutive years of drought in the State as the main factor for the voters rejecting the Congress.

"I will respect the verdict of the people. I take total responsibility for the defeat, primarily because I opted for early elections was the main campaigner for the party." The people certainly had reasons for re-electing or rejecting a ruling party. As his Government's performance did not meet the expectations of the people, the Congress had been rejected, he said.

Asked whether the Congress would support the Janata Dal (S) to form the Government, he said, "Our party is guided by what the Congress High Command suggests." He said he had not approached the former Prime Minister and JD(S) supremo, H.D. Deve Gowda. "But I am a free man now, I can meet him any time," Mr. Krishna said.

He congratulated the BJP and JD(S) for their spectacular performance in the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections and said "the Congress will move and live on."

"Well, we will decide the future course of action for the party in Karnataka soon," he said. He wished the incoming Government all the best.

Praising the leadership of the Congress President, Sonia Gandhi, and the performance of the party in the Lok Sabha elections, Mr. Krishna said: "She (Sonia Gandhi) provided leadership for the party across the country." Her leadership, sagacity, statesmanship, decision to have an alliance with some parties, and agreement with the Left had to be appreciated. "In other words, her realistic approach paid tremendous dividends to not only the Congress but also the nation."

"It has been my privilege to serve as Chief Minister of Karnataka for four and half years. The aim of the Congress Government had been to ameliorate the lot of the poor. In pursuance of this, my Government undertook the implementation of various programmes that improved the lot of the common people and enhanced their social and economic emancipation."

Mr. Krishna said the Akshara Dasoha midday meal scheme, construction of houses in rural areas, the relief package for farmers and the thrust given to irrigation and the social sector were testimony to the Government's commitment and resolve. "The State has also seen all-round progress and enjoyed the highest rate of growth in the country in the past five years. I leave office with a sense of satisfaction that my Government strove hard in meeting the aspirations of the people in providing governance and administration, which the five crore Kannadigas deserved."

Mr. Krishna thanked his colleagues in the Council of Ministers, the Chief Secretary, the Director-General of Police and the government employees for their support and cooperation.

"I leave office secure in the thought that our Government did whatever it could in pursuance of the responsibility entrusted to it by the people," he said.

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