The former Chief Minister S.M. Krishna, who is expected to be in the forefront of the Congress election campaign in the State in the next fortnight, has said that the tour programme is being finalised. “I will commence my campaign on April 2 and I propose to cover all the constituencies,” he told The Hindu here on Sunday.
There are 28 Lok Sabha constituencies in the State and the Congress has fielded candidates in all of them. By and large, the Congress faces a triangular contest in 25 of the 28 constituencies and in the remaining constituencies, the party candidates face a direct fight against the candidates of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Mr. Krishna was in the thick of campaigning during the last by-elections to the Mandya and the Bangalore Rural constituencies which the Congress won.
On whether a poor result in the State would impact the Siddaramaiah Government, Mr. Krishna, who served as the Chief Minister for a full-term of five years between 1999 and 2004, said that “the Siddaramaiah government is not even a year old. The functioning of the government has been very purposeful backed by the implementation of several people-friendly policies and schemes.”
He said, “We are a disciplined political party and the government cannot be dislodged that easily. The Congress high command is continuously monitoring discipline within the party and I do not foresee any problem.”
With reference to the selection of candidates for the 28 seats by the Congress high command, which has seen resentment in certain quarters, Mr. Krishna said, “By and large, the selection has been good. I was also a member of the central selection committee but could not attend the meetings. The case of the former Union Minister and one of the senior Congressmen, C.K. Jaffer Sharief, has been unfortunate and not in good taste. He should have taken the rejection of party ticket to him in his stride rather than indulge in hobnobbing.”
The former Minister for External Affairs expressed optimism that the Congress will do well in these elections, although the anti-incumbency factor will be at play. “It is natural that the Congress will face anti-incumbency given the fact that it has been ruling for the past decade. However, the good governance that it has provided will enable it to do much better in the elections than what is being talked about now. The rule by UPA I and UPA II has drawn the attention of several countries the world over, particularly the efforts at the upkeep of democracy. Many countries look at India as a role model,” he said.
He said, “There have been some deficiencies in the government and also in the Congress. In particular, some scams have surfaced. But an important point is that several corrective measures have been implemented and the Congress, with all its wisdom, will continue with correctives wherever required.
“The Congress led a coalition government and we have had the resilience to take corrective steps. This will definitely fetch returns, leading to a good performance by the party. I am optimistic,” he added.