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|October 7, 1999||
Jaffer Sharief throws hat in Karnataka ring
Veteran Congress leader and former Union railway minister C K Jaffer Sharief will be one of the contenders for the chief ministership after his party stormed back to power in Karnataka.
"If the party had to complete its full term and further strengthen its bonds with the minorities, he would be the right choice," sources close to Sharief, who won the Bangalore North Lok Sabha seat on Wednesday, said.
"The party needs a leader at this juncture who had proven administrative ability and political acumen to run a government for its full term," the sources said.
The Congress, sources said making for a case for Sharief, "should have a tall leader who could rise above groupism and ensure speedy development of the state as the party had been in the past dogged by dissidence even when it had a comfortable majority. The state was also facing serious financial problems and a man of stature and experience would alone be able to stem the rot."
The sources felt there could not be any difficulty in nominating a Lok Sabha member to head a government as there had been precedents in the party in this regard. Even S M Krishna was a Rajya Sabha member when he was asked to take over the party.
Despite Sharief's early entry into the chief ministerial race, Krishna -- under whose leadership the Congress stunned the Bharatiya Janata Party-Janata Dal-United alliance in the Karnataka assembly election -- remains the frontrunner for the post. Also in the running is the leader of the Opposition in the dissolved assembly, Mallikarjun Kharge.
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