Upset Sharief indicates he may join JD (S)

Upset Sharief indicates he may join JD (S)

Upset Sharief indicates he may join JD (S)

Miffed at denial of ticket to him to contest Lok Sabha elections, Congress veteran and former Union Minister Jaffer Sharief today indicated that he was keeping his options open to join JDS.

"If the Congress is worth its salt, it should stand by those who stood by late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi during her dark days," 83-year-old Sharief, whose claim for Bangalore Central seat was set aside in favour of Youth Congress wing Chief Rizwan Arshad, told PTI.

An eight-time Lok Sabha member, Sharief said he did not know why he was denied the ticket but it might be because Rahul Gandhi was searching for young candidates. Asked if the Congress would accommodate him as Governor, he said, "What is left in the Congress now?"

Sharief, who raised many an eyebrow in Congress recently by writing to party president Sonia Gandhi not to field a candidate against former Prime Minister and JDS supremo H D Deve Gowda, hinted at joining his party.

"I made the statement in good faith," Sharief said when asked whether his letter spelt trouble for him.

On his future course, he said, "Why shouldn't I join JDS, CPI(M) or any other secular parties. I am not looking at any personal gains," he said.

"I will take a call after I return from a pilgrimage to Mecca on March 19. God has been extremely kind. I will seek the blessings and guidance of God to take future decisions."

On the chances of Congress in Lok Sabha elections in Karnataka, Sharief said it is a matter of serious concern for the party looking at a survey that projected that it would get six seats compared to BJP's 20.

At a news conference here, Gowda said, "If Sharief has confidence in us and wants to come to us, then I welcome him. It is left to him." He said he and Sharief enjoy good personal equations.

Stating that Sharief had been "absolutely" loyal to Congress with which he was associated since the days of Nehru and Indira Gandhi, Gowda asked, "What gift has the party given him?"