Photo: Twitter/@CKJafferSharief
Photo: Twitter/@CKJafferSharief

Jaffer Sharief, senior Congress leader and former Railway minister, no more

Jaffer Sharief, senior most leaders of the Congress and an eight-time member of parliament, admitted in a Bengaluru hospital after his health deteriorated last week

Bengaluru: Bengaluru: Former union railway minister and one of the senior most Congress leaders from Karnataka, C.K.Jaffer Sharief, died on Sunday. He was 85 and admitted in a Bengaluru hospital after his health deteriorated last week.

Sharief was admitted in a private hospital after a cardiac arrest. He was revived briefly before his condition deteriorated and he died, the hospital said in a statement.

Born on 3 November 1933 in Challakere in Chitradurga district of Karnataka, Sharief was one of the senior most leaders of the Congress and has been an eight-time member of parliament.

“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," Congress president Rahul Gandhi wrote on Twitter.

The news of Sharief’s death comes a day after another senior Congress leader and noted Kannada actor, Ambareesh passed late on Saturday night. The late actor’s body was kept in Bengaluru where several eminent leaders paid their respects including Tamil film idol Rajanikanth and Telugu movie star, Chiranjeevi among others. Ambareesh’s body was then taken to his home district of Mandya.

Condolences poured in from leaders across party lines.

“Condolences on the sad demise of Shri C. K. Jaffer Sharief ji, a veteran leader & an exceptional parliamentarian. May God give strength to the bereaved family and supporters. May the departed soul rest in peace," Arun Jaitley, union finance minister wrote on Twitter.

“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.

A national leader who had a great connect across all communities, a truly secular leader.

My condolences." Dinesh Gundu Rao, the Karnataka Congress president wrote on Twitter.

Sharief was first elected to the 5th Lok Sabha in 1971 and served as the minister of state for railways first from 1980-84. He later handled central portfolios like irrigation and coal among other important roles in several committees of the government. From 1991-95, he served as India’s railway minister.

Sharief, whose electoral outing was in 2009, had expressed his interest in fighting the Lok Sabha polls next year one last time. He had written a letter to senior state Congress leaders expressing his wish to contest from the Bengaluru North constituency. However, the Congress leaders had discouraged Sharief from pursuing this request.

Though he was far removed from active politics, the veteran leader had made his presence felt with his tirade against several senior Congress leaders including former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah during the previous government. Sharief had allegedly sought a ticket for his grandson in the May elections as well.