Click here to EnlargePoll January 2002Pluses: A suave administrator and a firm believer in teamwork, his modern outlook, openness and accessibility have helped put the sheen back on Karnataka’s image. Minuses: Considered too soft and sometimes indecisive. Still has to execute all that he has promised. Could face difficulties because,Click here to EnlargePoll January 2002 Pluses: A suave administrator and a firm believer in teamwork, his modern outlook, openness and accessibility have helped put the sheen back on Karnataka’s image.Minuses: Considered too soft and sometimes indecisive. Still has to execute all that he has promised. Could face difficulties because Karnataka’s finances are in a mess.Call it Krishna and the art of political consciousness. For he has a Zen like approach to his job – a calm and a detachment that are reassuring. He doesn’t sound embarrassed about admitting that he enjoys the good things of life.Popularity IndicatorThe Congress party’s overall popularity may have shrunk in the past six months but three of its chief ministers head the popularity charts in the states. A.K. Antony and Digvijay Singh are the laggards. For the BJP, its relatively new chief ministers, like Narendra Modi and Rajnath Singh, have done well, as has its Punjab ally Parkash Singh Badal. But there is a problem with other allies, notably O.P Chautala. The Haryana chief minister competes with Tamil Nadu’s O. Paneerselvam and Bihar’s Rabri Devi for the status of unpopular chief ministers.It may not be politically correct to do so especially when you head a state whose 53 million people have a per capita income less than the national average.His sartorial sense is regal and his official bio-data even lists designing men’s clothes as his hobby. He jots down notes with his blue Mont Blanc and has discarded the dowdy Ambassador car for a pearly white Hyundai Sonata.advertisementIn Karnataka he is known as the “Western Gowda” in contrast to a predecessor who went on to become prime minister and made a fetish of his earthy roots.In two years and four months as chief minister, Somanahalli Malaiah Krishna continues to lead with elegance, clarity and efficiency that have for the second successive year seen him being rated as India’s best chief minister by the INDIA TODAY-ORG-MARG poll.What is his secret? According to Krishna, it is his ability to blend orthodoxy and conservatism with modernism. It means being a quintessential Congressman in white kurtas while dealing with party politics and sporting Saville Row suits and a Dallas accent-he studied law in Texas-to woo foreign investors.Click here to EnlargeWhat Krishna certainly has done is bring Karnataka back in focus as the state of the future-an image that had slipped in the 1990s as a succession of chief ministers (one an unabashed tippler)-whittled away its prosperity.Industry big daddies such as Infosys Chairman N.R. Narayana Murthy praise him for his “accessibility and openness to implement new ideas”. Software whiz Ashok Soota, CII’s president-designate, terms him the “feelgood” chief minister.Not one for getting embroiled in the nitty-gritty, Krishna sets targets and expect his colleagues to deliver. He also has set his priorities right, pushing for roads, jobs and houses for townsmen, irrigation schemes for farmers and drinking water for the poor.But Karnataka’s finances continue to be a mess, something he will have to answer for. He will turn 70 soon-the Old Turk he says derisively-but with tennis and yoga as pastimes Krishna appears fit to complete the remaining half of his term with panache.