Veteran Congress lawmaker and former Karnataka Minister Qamarul Islam died here on Monday after a cardiac arrest, said a private hospital doctor. He was 69. “Islam died post noon due to heart attack and multi-organ failure in the ICU where he was undergoing treatment for a leg wound over the last 10 days,” Narayana Health Hospital senior consultant Shivaprasad told reporters. A six-term legislator and a one-term Lok Sabha member from Kalaburgi in the state’s northern region, 630 km from Bengaluru, Islam was a Wakf Minister in the Siddaramaiah government till he was dropped in June 2016.
“As Islam was a loyal Congressman for over four decades, he was appointed in-charge of the party’s affairs in Kerala in July,” a party official said. The body was shifted to the party’s state unit office in the city from the hospital to enable leaders and cadres to pay homage. “Islam’s mortal remains will be flown in a helicopter to Kalaburgi later in the day for burial with state honours,” added the official.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, the party’s state unit president G. Parameshwara, party’s working president Dinesh Gunde Rao and other leaders mourned Islam’s sudden death and expressed grief over the loss. Hundreds of Islam’s supporters and followers thronged his residence in the city’s north suburb and also at Kalaburgi for paying their respects.
Though Islam began his political career in the late 1970s as a member of the Muslim League, he joined the Congress in 1980. He was also a minister in the S.M. Krishna government from 1999 to 2004.