'There are many other ways of serving nation'

'There are many other ways of serving nation'

A day after he was denied a Congress ticket to contest from Bangalore Central constituency, senior leader C K Jaffer Sharief on Friday slammed the party saying that there are many other ways to serve the country and people. But he did not divulge his next course of action.

“I am not a small boy to take it emotionally. I am a responsible man who wants to serve people. There are so many other ways to serve people and the country,” he told this paper.

He criticised the party's decision to field State Youth Congress president Rizwan Arshad saying that such candidates are selected so that leaders can boss over them. “He (Rizwan) is a young man and has a long way to go,” he stated.

Sharief, however, continued to play the card close to his chest on his future course of action.

“I have something is mind. But I do not want to take any hasty decision. I am going on Umrah (a pilgrimage to Mecca). I will seek the advice of the Almighty, and He will decide the future,” he stated.

Sharief is likely to leave Bangalore on March 19 and is expected to be back on March 23. March 26 is the last date for filing nomination papers for the coming Lok Sabha elections.

His close aides said he has not taken the decision to quit the Congress and join the JD(S), but he has kept all options open.

Followers hopeful

Sharief’s followers are hopeful that the Congress would take steps to pacify their leader in coming days in order to prevent any damage to its poll prospects. The JD(S) has already expressed its willingness to field him from Bangalore Central.
Asked about the JD(S)' eagerness to take him to the party fold and field him as the candidate, Sharief said he may have good relationship with JD(S) chief H D Deve Gowda, but he has to think about senior leaders of that party like Zameer Ahmed Khan and Abdul Azim.

Gowda ready to welcome

Deve Gowda said he would welcome Sharief with open arms if he wants to join the JD(S). The former prime minister said that Sharief and he have a long-standing political relationship.

“Nine months ago, when I was seriously ill, Sharief reached out to me and enquired about my health. I respect him. A loyal Congress man, what has the Congress party given him? Has he been made a governor, or has been given any special consideration for his sacrifices to the party? I welcome him to the JD(S) , as both of us think on the same wavelength to serve the people,” said Deve Gowda.

He sympathised with Sharief for having to go on a Umrah, at a time when he should have started campaigning for the elections.

However, Gowda did not explictly state that Sharief will be given a ticket to contest for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

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