Veteran Congressman and former Union minister C K Jaffer Sharief passes away

Bengaluru: Veteran Congress leader and former Union minister C K Jaffer Sharief passed away Sunday at a private hospital here following a cardiac arrest, doctors said. He was 85.

Sharief was hospitalised after he collapsed while getting into his car for attending the Friday namaz. Family sources said Sharief was not keeping well for quite some time. He is survived by two daughters. Hospital sources said Sharief died of cardiac arrest. 

"One of @INCIndia's senior-most leaders, many times MP and one of India's most successful Railway minister, Karnataka's very own son Sri CK Jaffer Shareef has passed away," Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president Dinesh Gundu Rao tweeted. 

Congress MLA and Sharief's family friend N A Harris told PTI that the doctors had planned to implant pacemaker in his heart Sunday but he died before he could be brought to the operation table. 

Born on November 3, 1933, at Challakere in Chitradurga, Sharief had an illustrious political career spanning 50 years. Launching his career under the tutelage of the then Congress stalwart and former chief minister S Nijalingappa, Sharief had, however, sided with former prime minister Indira Gandhi after the split in the Congress. 

He was a seven-time MP from Bengaluru North constituency and served as the Railway minister in the P V Narasimha Rao government between 1991 and 1995. 

Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, who rushed to the hospital, said Sharief was close to his father and former prime minister H D Devegowda. 

"Jaffer Sharief was not restricted to the minority community but had emerged as a leader of every citizen of the state. He was a great leader who gifted various central government schemes, especially railway projects, to the state," Kumaraswamy said. 

Congress president Rahul Gandhi condoled Sharief's death. He tweeted, "It is a day of tragedy for the Congress party, with another senior, loved & respected member of our family in Karnataka, Shri Jaffer Sharief Ji, passing away today. My condolences to his family, friends & supporters in their time of grief". 

Former External Affairs Minister SM Krishna recalled his association with Sharief, saying, "He was a great visionary and was able to very effectively represent all sections of society".

Sharief had on occasions threatened to quit the Congress, sulking over being "sidelined" in the party and being denied ticket to him or his family members, but had withdrawn it on being pacified by the party high command. 

The RSS, with which Sharief had maintained cordial relations, condoled his death and said he was well known to many senior Sangh functionaries and supportive of social causes. 

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