For him, state’s interests mattered more than politics: S M Krishna

Bengaluru: The state’s interests always figured at the top with politics left behind, says former chief minister S M Krishna about his “most ideal friend” Union minister H N Ananth Kumar, who passed away in the city on Monday.

Reminiscing his association with Mr Ananth Kumar, who held various portfolios in the NDA government headed by Prime Minister A B Vajpayee, Mr Krishna told Deccan Chronicle that through his tenure as Chief Minister (1999-2004), he depended on the Union minister for help whenever he felt “things were becoming difficult in New Delhi.” “Regardless of our political affiliation, I felt that Mr Ananth Kumar was very friendly throughout my term as Chief Minister. I salute him for his efforts to protect the interests of the state by keeping politics out of the picture,” he added.

Mr Krishna recalled Mr Ananth Kumar role during the row over sharing water of the river Cauvery and unveiling of the foundation stone of Bengaluru international airport by late Mr Vajpayee. “Soon after I took over as Chief Minister, I was thrilled to watch a Lufthansa aircraft take off from HAL airport to Frankfurt as the first nonstop international flight. I made up my mind that Bengaluru should have an international airport and sanctioned 4000 acres near Devanahalli. I wanted Mr Vajpayee to unveil the foundation stone for the new airport, but some leaders of BJP opposed his visit to Bengaluru. Officers of the SPG too felt that the venue was not suitable for Mr Vajpayee to visit as it was on the outskirts of the city. Mr Ananth Kumar accompanied me during my meeting with then National Security Adviser Mr Brajesh Mishra and requested that Mr Vajpayee unwrap the foundation stone. His word carried much weight, and we found an alternative to solve the concern of officers of SPG: We informed Mr Vajpayee that he could do the honors by pressing a button at an event in Banquet Hall, Vidhana Soudha, and he agreed to come to Bengaluru to fulfill my dream of an international airport for our city,” he added.

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