BENGALURU: AICC Secretary and former minister Qamarul Islam passed away after suffering a cardiac arrest in Bengaluru on Monday. He was 69.
The six-time MLA had been admitted at Narayana Health and did not survive after he suffered a massive heart attack and multiple organ failures. He was suffering from diabetes and hypertension.
It was only this July that he had been appointed as AICC Secretary in-charge of Kerala. All government offices, schools and colleges in Kalaburagi were closed for half a day as a mark of respect.
A prominent Muslim leader from Kalaburagi region, he was the MLA from Kalaburagi North constituency. Starting his career in 1978, he was elected as an MLA on the Muslim League ticket and served three terms, and three more terms when he was with the Congress. He also served as a Member of Parliament from 1996-98 and was a minister in the S M Krishna government. He had held various portfolios like Housing, Labour, Municipal Administration, Public Enterprise and Minority Development.
He was the Waqf Minister in the Siddaramaiah government, but was dropped during the 2016 reshuffle to make way for fresh faces. Islam was clearly unhappy and demanded that Siddaramaiah give him a reason for dropping him. In July 2017, he was appointed as AICC Secretary in-charge of Kerala.
As a minister in-charge of Kalaburagi, he also served as the chairman of the Hyderabad Karnataka Development Board. A mechanical engineer by profession, he was also a trader and industrialist and headed several charitable institutions.All prominent leaders paid their last respects at the Idgah Maidan in the city where his body was kept for viewing. His body was taken to Kalaburagi on Monday night and the funeral will be held there on Tuesday.
Condolences pour in
Siddaramaiah, Chief Minister
He was always a very popular leader. The development of Hyderabad Karnataka region and welfare of minorities were two things very close to his heart. As a Minorities Welfare Minister, he was diligent in implementing the Bidaai Scheme and now even the Central government wants to implement it. It is also a fact that he was responsible for the residential quarters for minorities having tripled after our government came to power. His death is a great loss.
K C Venugopal, AICC General Secretary
The demise of AICC Secretary Qamarul Islam is an irreparable loss to the Congress party. Qamar Sab, as he was called affectionately, was an unparalleled leader in the Hyderabad-Karnataka region. He raised his voice for the rights of the minority community and other deprived classes. He was a staunch believer in secular values and stood against all fundamentalist ideologies among the minorities too. He will be remembered for his long political career devoted to the welfare of people from all walks of life.
G Parameshwara, KPCC president
He was an influential leader of the minority community and his contribution to politics is enormous. He was appointed to AICC so that he could contribute at the national level. But his sudden demise is a great loss to the party and to the people of Hyderabad-Karnataka region.
H D Deve Gowda, JD(S) national president
I am very pained by the death of Qamarul Islam. He worked as a minister in our government also. He was a close associate.
B S Yeddyurappa, BJP state president
He was a very friendly person and has left an indelible mark in politics with his four-decade-long experience. Having served as a minister in the present government for three years, he had gained enormous popularity in North Karnataka region, especially Kalaburagi area.