From driving the car of his political mentor and former Karnataka chief minister S Nijalingappa to steering India's Railway Ministry, veteran Congress leader C K Jaffer Sharief's growth in politics and his unflinching loyalty to the party is widely admired.
Popularly called "Jaffer bhai" in the political circles of his times, Sharief was a staunch loyalist of Indira Gandhi, who stood with her through thick and thin, and it also paid him rich political dividends.
Challakere Kareem Jaffer Sharief was born on November 3, 1933 at Challakere of Chitradurga in the then Kingdom of Mysore. He was associated with the Congress from his adolescence.
Though his growth in the Congress was under Nijalingappa's mentorship, Sharief sided with Indira Gandhi when the party split in the 1969, after she was expelled from the organisation for violating the party discipline.
Sharief was rewarded a ticket to contest 1971 mid-term polls.
A seven-time Lok Sabha member from Bengaluru North constituency, Sharief showed his complete loyalty again to Indira Gandhi against the then popular Karnataka chief minister Devraj Urs, who parted ways with her in 1978. Indira Gandhi was out of power then.
This earned a reward for Sharief who was inducted into the cabinet as minister of state for railways by her in 1980.
He also served as the minister of state for coal in the Rajiv Gandhi government, and then went on to serve as the railways minister in the P V Narasimha Rao-led cabinet from 199195. His work towards gauge conversion during his stint as the railway minister was widely acknowledged.
Sharief was married to Amina Bie, who died in 2008. His two sons had died before him and he is survived by two daughters.
He also had rich parliamentary experience, having been a Lok Sabha member seven times. He tasted defeat twice in 2004 and 2009.
Sharief, who gradually faded into political oblivion, had often complained of being sidelined by the Congress. On several occasions, he had threatened to quit the party, sulking for being denied a ticket to him or his family members, but had withdrawn it on being pacified by the party high command.
Known for political maturity and sobriety, Sharief had maintained cordial relations with the RSS.
In April 2017, Sharief had stunned political circles, when he wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi backing RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat as the president of India after Pranab Mukherjee, saying there is no doubt about his "patriotism and commitment to the Constitution."
Questioned if his stance on Bhagwat would not be at variance from that of the Congress, Sharief had defended himself, saying his support for Bhagwat was a matter of "principle".