There is nothing unconstitutional about having a state flag: Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah

Karnataka wants its own flag appoints panel to look into legal sanctity

The Congress government in Karnataka has set up a nine member committee to design a state flag (an identity symbol unique to the state), according to a report in the media.

The BJP unit of Karnataka today said it was not opposed to a separate state flag but flayed Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's "unilateral decision" to form a panel on the issue without consulting the opposition leaders.

The move has come amid state-wide protests by pro-Kannada activists who have accused the BJP-led central government of imposing Hindi in the state.

When the Bharatiya Janata Party was in power in Karnataka five years ago, it had rejected the proposal to allow the recognition of a state flag.

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However, former Advocate General Ashok Haranahalli said that the state should frame a flag code without giving scope for it to affect the unity and integrity of the country if it wants to have a separate flag.

In 2014 Patil Puttappa, a journalist and Kannada activist, and Bheemappa Gundappa, an RTI activist, made a demand for the legitimisation of the official flag of the state. There is no provision in the Constitution for any state to have its separate flag. Do we accord less respect to the national anthem (by having a State anthem)?

Do other Indian states have their own flags? The Constitution speaks of the National Flag and protocol that needs to be followed while handling and hoisting it.

Ma Ramamurthy, son of freedom fighter and litterateur Veerakesari Seetharama Shastri, was the first to have conceptualised and designed the Yellow and Red flag for Karnataka.

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"We have constituted a committee to look at the issues and based on their recommendations we will take a decision". "The flag controversy provided ammunition to the BJP, just when we were going after them on issues such as lynching by cow vigilantes", said a senior Congress leader.

Assembly elections are due in Karnataka next year. "The national flag will always fly higher that the state flag, there are no two ways about it".

"By having a regional flag, no disrespect is being shown to the national flag".

While Yeddyurappa accused the CM of playing to pro-Kannada groups to gain votes for the 2018 assembly polls, Siddaramaiah says the BJP too is ambiguous about its stand as they too do not want to upset their vote banks.

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K C Venugopal, Congress' Karnataka in charge, said that he will seek clarification from the state government.

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