- SM Krishna was union minister and earlier, Karnataka Chief Minister
- Joined BJP yesterday, says Congress can't recover lost ground
- Congress needs to get over Gandhi fixation: SM Krishna to NDTV
Mr Krishna has served in the past as Chief Minister of Karnataka, one of the few states that the Congress governs. As a prominent leader, he exerts considerable influence over party workers, and his defection to the BJP comes barely a year ahead of the election in Karnataka. He said he's not worried about allegations that his switching teams is political opportunism. "Whatever I did or said, there is going to be opposition to that. So if someone says I have been doing opportunistic politics, it is for the people to decide if it is so, or by my sense of commitment to the country."
Mr Krishna spoke like top leaders of his new party when he appraised Congress boss Rahul Gandhi, stating, "Politics cannot be a part-time job, there is a disconnect."
In the recent elections in five states, the Congress crumbled to its worst-ever showing in Uttar Pradesh, settling for just seven of 403 seats. Mr Gandhi led the party's campaign, but like in previous electoral defeats, Congressmen have lined up to insist that he must not step down.
The BJP's top leader in Karnataka, former Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa, is a Lingayat. Mr Krishna, who was with the Congress for 46 years, belongs to the powerful Vokkaliga caste. With his acquisition, the BJP hopes to expand its appeal among Mr Krishna's community in the regions of Mysore, Tumkur and Mandya and return to power in Karnataka.
In 2011, as Foreign Minister in Dr Manmohan Singh's government, Mr Krishna stunned onlookers when he read out his Portugese counterpart's speech at the UN. Among his deriders was Narendra Modi, then Chief Minister of Gujrat. Congress leaders today tweeted a video of Mr Modi ridiculing Mr Krishna at the time. Bygones, said the new BJP recruit. "I just read the first two lines of the speech... and the media made much of that. Based on the media reports, many commented and PM Modi's comment is also one of them."