Karnataka Minister for Wakf and Haj Affairs Zameer Ahmed on Tuesday resigned to protest Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy staying away from the Eid-ul-Zuha prayers at the Idgah Maidan in Bangalore.
Ahmed gave his resignation letter to Governor TN Chaturvedi at the Raj Bhavan in Bangalore.
"The governor said he would forward the letter to the chief minister. As I have said on Monday after the Eid prayers, I have decided to quit the ministry on principle since the chief minister has hurt the minority community by deliberately keeping away from our gathering despite assurances to the contrary," Ahmed told reporters.
However, he said he was willing to withdraw his resignation if Kumaraswamy apologised to the minority community for not participating in the prayer meeting where about 25,000 Muslims had gathered. The Idgah Maidan is in Chamrajpet, the assembly constituency represented by him as a Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) legislator.
"It is not my honour or prestige at stake but that of minorities in the state. The chief minister was not only informed about the programme eight days ago, but also invited to grace the occasion personally by me on Monday morning at his residence," Ahmed said.
Accusing the chief minister of neglecting the minorities, Ahmed said he would continue to be a legislator and fight for the welfare of his community while remaining in the party.
"I am resigning from the ministry only and not as legislator or from the party. It is now up to the chief minister to apologise to our community for breaking the tradition of attending the Eid prayers if he is keen on retaining me in the ministry," Ahmed pointed out.
Ahmed was elected from the Chamrajpet assembly segment in a by-election that was held in June 2005 after former chief minister SM Krishna resigned following his appointment as Maharashtra governor in December 2004.
An influential transport operator and one-time buddy of Kumaraswamy, Ahmed was one of the key players in revolting against the then Congress-led government in January 2006 that led to the formation of the present coalition government with the Bharatiya Janata Party.