Jaffer Sharief quits Congress, to campaign for JD(S)

Jaffer Sharief quits Congress, to campaign for JD(S)

Congress veteran C K Jaffer Sharief, who is upset over denial of ticket to him to contest Lok Sabha polls, today said he has quit the party, snapping his six-decade old association with it.

"I have faxed my resignation from the Congress primary membership to AICC President Sonia Gandhi, but will not contest Lok Sabha elections," Sharief told PTI over telephone from Mecca, where he is on a piligrimage since March 19.

A seven-time Lok Sabha member, 83-year old Sharief, whose claim for ticket from Bangalore Central was overlooked in favour of Youth Congress wing chief Rizwan Arshad, did not share contents of his letter.

Asked whether he would join JDS to contest the April 17 Lok Sabha elections, Sharief said he does not want to be associated with one party and work within the framework of it. "However, I am ready to work for secular parties," he said.

On whether he will campaign for JDS, the former Union minister said, "Yes I would."

He also described JDS supremo Deve Gowda as a secular leader and a "good friend".

Sharief had on March 14 had indicated he was keeping open the option of joining JDS after Congress plumped for Arshad for Bangalore Central seat.

In a letter to Gowda, Sharief conveyed that he won't be contesting polls, but will be glad to work for Third Front.

Thanking Gowda and his son former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy for offering him to contest from Mysore Lok Sabha constituency, he said, "As I had promised, I have to seek the guidance of Allah the almighty at Mecca... finally I got the guidance not to contest any Lok Sabha election from anywhere in the country."

Stating that he was free to campaign for anyone he likes, he said, "I have decided to support non-BJP secular parties. I will be glad and happy to work for Third Front."

Sharief had earlier written to Gandhi not to field any candidate against Gowda, raising many an eyebrow in Congress. 

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