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Congress will regain power: Krishna

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A STAR CAMPAIGNER: The Congress leader S.M. Krishna felicitating Mamatha Nichani, party’s candidate in Ramanagaram, at his residence in Bangalore on Monday, when the party launched its election campaign.
A STAR CAMPAIGNER: The Congress leader S.M. Krishna felicitating Mamatha Nichani, party’s candidate in Ramanagaram, at his residence in Bangalore on Monday, when the party launched its election campaign.

Special Correspondent

Claims credit for projecting Bangalore as the information technology hub

BANGALORE: A moderate crowd had gathered near the Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple, the ancient cave temple at Kempegowda Nagar, here bordering two Assembly constituencies of Basavanagudi and Chickpet to listen to the speech of the veteran Congress leader S.M. Krishna here on Monday.

The listeners, who included the residents, apart from the followers of K. Chandrasekhar and R.V. Devaraj, the party candidates from the respective constituencies, waited for an hour for the arrival of Mr. Krishna.

Accompanied by his wife Prema Krishna, the former Chief Minister along with the candidates, prayed at the temple and visited a few localities in an open jeep waving to the crowd.

They applauded in approval when he said that it was during his tenure as Chief Minister that Karnataka got the world acclaim for its success in information technology sector. Now educated youths were getting handsome salaries, thanks to IT revolution, he added.

Mr. Krishna said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had acknowledged the achievement made by the Congress Government between 1999 and 2004. But A.B. Vajpayee, Congress’s political adversary, had a special appreciation for Bangalore.

“Earlier, foreigners used to come to New Delhi and next visited other States, but now they come first to Bangalore and then to the national capital,” he said.

Later, he told presspersons that a pantheon of Congress leaders, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, the Prime Minister, MP Rahul Gandhi, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, and Defence Minister A.K. Antony would campaign in the State.

Mr. Krishna expressed his confidence that the party would make up 15 to 17 per cent of the votes that it lost in 2004 elections. Asked whether he would agree with some non-BJP parties that they were likely to join the Congress-led Government, he said such a situation might not arise. He said he would not comment on this till May 28.

Asked how the party was going to handle the party rebels and aspirants belonging to Lingayats and Vokkaligas were quitting it, he said the “caste was an important factor, but the Congress has shoved it under the carpet. We see and feel, but we do not perceive that caste alone dictate terms.”

He said that many rebels might retire after the last date for withdrawal and the party would exhaust all options, before taking disciplinary action.

Mr. Krishna denied superstitious belief behind fielding Mamata Nichani, daughter of the former Chief Minister late Ramakrishna Hegde in Ramanagara against the Janata Dal (Secular) candidate and former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy. He said Ms. Nichani was selected because she was a bright candidate.

Earlier, Ms. Nichani said that she believed in humanism and not in any other “isms”. “I was born in a family, which did not attach any importance to the caste, religion of the visitors to our family and whether they were poor or rich. There is no threat to secularism either and the country is capable of facing any danger,” she added.

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