S M Krishna resigns ahead of Union Cabinet reshuffle

The US educated Fulbright Scholar S M Krishna who was appointed to the Foreign Minister post shortly after the 2009 elections has sent in his resignation on 26OCT12 to PM Singh ahead of a Union Cabinet reshuffle. According to reporting by the Times of India, Krishna the former chief minister may be given a party assignment in Karnataka. NDTV also reports the Information and Broadcasting minister Ambika Soni, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Mukul Wasnik, and Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahay will also follow suit. (Mr Sahay was recently embroiled in the coal-gate controversy after it emerged that he lobbied the Prime Minister’s Office to intervene on behalf of a firm in which his brother was a director to land coal fields.)

NDTV also reported earlier on Friday, Mr Krishna’s statement in Bangalore indicating that he was “making way for youngsters.” (He is 80 years old.) While other publications have taken that to mean that young new faces considered close to Rahul Gandhi (or Rahul himself) would be elevated, others like Commerce Minister Anand Sharma (age 59) and HRD and Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal (age 64) have also been suggested.

NDTV reiterates Times of India reporting saying that Mr Krishna will be required in Karnataka to handle party affairs. “I am a loyal party worker and will continue to work for the party,” he was recorded saying. (Mr Krishna is a Vokkaliga, which is politically a very influential caste in the state, and is likely to lead the Congress’ campaign in the next assembly election and give the party a face in the state, which it is currently lacking.) However, there was also speculation that Mr. Krishna’s resignation on Friday was linked to a Special Lokayukta court in which he is being investigated regarding the Mysore-Bangalore Express Highway scam.

Regardless, Mr. Krishna’s exit will, as illustrated by the Hindu, “make way for the second change in the top four portfolios — Finance, Home, Defence and External Affairs — in three months: on July 31, P. Chidambaram exchanged his Home portfolio for Finance and Sushilkumar Shinde moved up from Power to Home shortly after Pranab Mukherjee was elected President, exchanging his office in North Block for Rashtrapati Bhawan.”

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