If he is given a key position, others in the race for post of Chief Minister will lose

The Congress in Karnataka, at a time when elections to the Legislative Assembly is expected in a few months, is still in a state of confusion, more so after the return of the former External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna to the State presumably to galvanise the party.

There is no announcement, as yet, on the role that Mr. Krishna has to don to get the Congress back in power. It is another matter that there are deep divisions within the Congress over the status that has to be accorded to Mr. Krishna in the State party, given the fear among some of the leaders that if he is given a key position, all others in the race for the post of Chief Minister will automatically be relegated to the background.

On his part, Mr. Krishna has made it clear that he is not in favour of any position and that at the present juncture, he is keen on doing his best for the success of the Congress.

Sources in the Congress said it is quite obvious that the party high command is yet to apply its mind on the role for the veteran Congressman, who has held all the important positions in the party and government. Mr. Krishna is one of the senior most leaders of the party, in both State and country, and among other things, he is regarded as a key leader of the dominant Vokkaliga community.

Mr. Krishna needs no introduction to the electorate, whether they be urban or rural voters, young or old. As the president of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee in the crucial period during the run-up to the Legislative Assembly elections in 1999, his contribution to regain the lost glory of the Congress in the State was unprecedented.

Not everyone in the State unit is overjoyed with the return of Mr. Krishna to the helm of affairs although it is common knowledge that he can be a game changer in State politics, particularly now when the Bharatiya Janata Party is on the verge of a collapse. The effort to give a larger-than-life image to Mr. Krishna by some of his ardent supporters, however, has so far not evoked any response from other senior leaders like Union Ministers M. Mallikarjun Kharge and M. Veerappa Moily or even the Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah. Apparently they believe that he will be another contender when the party gets to the seat of power. It is all about the post of the Chief Minister and there are far too may competitors for that chair in the State unit of the Congress. Mr. Krishna, on his part, has said that he will work at channelising his vast experience towards bringing the party back to the seat of power.

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