‘Future belongs to the youth, but experience is not easily available’

A day after the Congress officially denied the party ticket to C.K. Jaffer Sharief to contest from Bangalore Central, A. Chella Kumar, Secretary, All India Congress Committee (AICC), in charge of Karnataka, met the veteran leader at his residence on Friday to pacify him.

He told The Hindu that Mr. Sharief was the senior-most leader of the party. Just because the party denied him the ticket, it did not mean “we have disowned him. He will continue to remain our guide and mentor.”

However, speaking to this correspondent after the meeting, Mr. Sharief dropped hints that he was all set to move out of the party.

“Humiliation is not something which you cannot spit and swallow,” he said.

“Political parties have liberty to take their own decision. Similarly, we individuals also care for our dignity, self-respect and honour. They have taken their decision what is best in their in their wisdom. I will take my decision after I return from Makkah after seeking God’s blessings,” he said.

On the Congress’ attempts to woo the younger generation by giving ticket to youth (State Youth Congress president Rizwan Arshad has been given ticket to contest from Bangalore Central where Mr. Sharief was also an aspirant), the veteran leader said, “There is no second opinion that the future belongs to the younger generation. We must accept and respect them. But the fact remains that experience and knowledge is not a commodity available in the market.”

He said secularism was not the monopoly of a single party. “I am of the opinion that secular forces should come together. Regional parties are gaining ground in the country and we will have to support them,” he said brushing aside specific questions as to whether he will join the Janata Dal (Secular).

Replying to queries as to whether he was satisfied with the kind of treatment that minorities were getting in the party, Mr Sharief said, “Majority has to have the magnanimity to carry the minority along and minority should also reciprocate. If Indian democracy has matured, minorities have also contributed to it. They may not speak but they will act.”

On the party’s experiment of coming to power by roping in the younger generation, he said, “Democracy cannot be treated as a laboratory. People who sit in the central election committee are experienced people and men of wisdom. I respect their decision. But I should also be allowed to breathe freely.”

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