The Karnataka Congress received a major jolt on Friday when C K Jaffer Sharrief tendered his resignation from the party. The resignation has not been accepted by the party and the letter has been forwarded to the party high command in New Delhi. A final decision in this regard would be taken on Saturday.
Jaffer Sharrief, a veteran in the Congress who has also been a minister in the Indira Gandhi government, has been feeling sidelined ever since he lost the parliamentary elections to Bharatiya Janata Party leader H T Sangliana in 2004.
In 2008, he openly expressed his displeasure when the party high command thwarted his plan to extend his legacy by denying his grand son, Abdul Rehman Sharrief, a ticket to contest the forthcoming elections in Karnataka. The party high command defended its stance by saying that it did not intend to give tickets to the kith and kin of its leaders. Sharrief had reacted by saying that this rule should not be applicable only to Karnataka but should be followed nation wide, thus taking a dig at the Gandhi clan.
On Friday afternoon, some of Sharrief's supporters said that he had resigned from the party as he was upset with the manner in which he was being treated. Sharrief however denied it initially by saying that he was angry, but that did not mean that he would quit the party.
He said that he was there to work for the party and wanted to polarise both the Muslim and Hindu votes in Karnataka. However later in the day when news of the resignation was confirmed by senior Congress leaders, Sharrief was not available for comment.
Congressmen say that ever since Sharrief lost the elections in 2004, he had become aloof. He had started getting the feeling that he was being sidelined in the party. He hoped to return to the limelight through his grandson, but even that was thwarted by the party.
Finally Sharrief said that his services and experience was not being utilised in the party. He was then made the chairman of the Manifesto committee which, according to several Congressmen, was just another compromise formula.
It is said that the decision by Sharrief to quit the party could only be a pressure tactic to ensure that his grandson gets a ticket. There were also rumours that Sharrief is considering joining either the NCP or the JD-S.
Prithviraj Chauvan, senior Congress leader and observer for Karnataka, said that a meeting regarding Sharrief and the high command would be held in New Delhi on Saturday.