Mr. Sharief, who is upset over the treatment meted out to him by the Congress, was accompanied by his grandson Yakub Sharief.

The former Union Minister C.K. Jaffer Sharief, who was denied the Congress ticket from the Bangalore Central Lok Sabha constituency, called on the Janata Dal (Secular) leader H.D. Deve Gowda at his residence here on Saturday.

Mr. Sharief, who is upset over the treatment meted out to him by the Congress, was accompanied by his grandson Yakub Sharief. The former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy was also present at the meeting.

Speaking to presspersons later, Mr. Sharief said he wanted to associate himself with Mr. Gowda as the aim of both of them was to fight the communal forces in the country.

Describing Mr. Gowda as one of the tall secular leaders of the country, Mr. Sharief said he wanted to strengthen Mr. Gowda’s hands.

Clarifying that he did not want to be associated with the JD (S) “purely with an interest of contesting the polls,” Mr. Sharief said he would decide his future course of action after returning from Makkah.

Refusing to recognise Mr. Sharief as a mere leader of the minority community, Mr. Gowda said he “is one of the senior-most political leaders in the country and respected by people from all regions.”

Noting that he and Mr. Sharief were contemporaries in the political area, the JD(S) chief hinted at “some positive outcome” of Saturday’s meeting.

Mr. Gowda said that Mr. Sharief had decided to tour the State along with him to strengthen the party if he was not contesting the election.

Mr. Kumaraswamy told The Hindu that Mr. Sharief’s entry into the party fold would boost the JD(S) strength to fight communal forces in the country.

A senior party leader said the party wanted to field Mr. Sharief from a safe constituency in the State. The party would leave the decision of choosing the constituency to him.

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