Indian Foreign Minister Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna has stepped down from his post in advance of a major cabinet reshuffle that is expected to bring a younger generation of ministers into more prominent positions.
“I am making way for youngsters,” Krishna, 80, told reporters, adding that he would remain active in politics, though it is not yet clear in what capacity. “I am a loyal party worker and will continue to work for the party.”
Krishna served as foreign minister for three years under the Congress party government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He was largely perceived as a nominal figure with Singh making most of the key decisions regarding foreign policy.
Krishna may have also served as a source of potential embarrassment for the party, having been named the day before his resignation in a corruption probe in his home state of Karnataka, where he served as chief minister from 1999 to 2004, the Financial Times reported.
The case in question involves land acquisitions for the construction of an expressway between Bangalore, India’s high-tech industry hub, and Mysore.
Krishna also caused some embarrassment when he mistakenly read a speech that had been written for the Portuguese foreign minister at the U.N. in 2011, raising questions about his competency.
Krishna’s replacement is expected to be announced Sunday along with a host of other new cabinet members.
The cabinet reshuffle comes ahead of the 2014 parliamentary elections as the ruling Congress party attempts to makeover its image as a government of aging politicians that are perceived to be out of touch with India’s younger generations. Over half of the population of 1.24 billion is under the age of 25.
The Congress party, which has dominated India’s political scene for the past 65 years under the political dynasty of the Nehru-Gandhi family, lost its majority in Parliament last month when key coalition member, the Trinamool Congress party, broke ranks with it over proposed economic reforms.
Many top Congress party members are perceived to be in their positions due to their loyalty to the Nehru-Gandhi family rather than their merits as public servants.
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