The Congress government has set up a nine-member panel to examine the legality of a separate state flag and designing it.
Congress Karnataka in charge KC Venugopal has taken a dim view of the CM's action and told ET: "The Congress party's stand is clear that there should be no move to have a state flag for Karnataka".
Confident over his decision, Siddaramaiah slammed the opposing parties - Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Janata Dal Secular (JDS) - by claiming that the Indian Constitution does not mention anything over having a state flag or not, so no need to quote nonexistent clauses. The courts were also brought into play, and now the current government has appointed a nine member committee to look at the use of the state flag afresh. The panel will be headed by the principal secretary of the Department of Kannada and Culture and will comprise bureaucrats and academics, India Today reported.
On the other hand, Siddaramaiah said that there is nothing to legally prevent a state from having a flag of its own. It is used by any number of organisations in the state as an "official flag" and the Congress has clearly made a decision to capitalise on this issue before the elections. "We have a Nadageethe (State song), what is wrong in having an official State flag?" "While all these Acts speak of the National Flag and its protocol, the Acts remain silent on the issue of a state having its own flag".
In the 1960s, when Karnataka had erupted into protests against anti-Kannada movies, the flag was used by a party, Kannada Paksha, as its own symbol.
Former advocate-general of Karnataka, Ravivarma Kumar, told The Hinduthat in SR Bommai vs Union of India case, the Supreme Court had declared that federalism is a basic feature of the Constitution and States are supreme in their sphere. National flag will always be higher, he added. The JD (S) in Karnataka said that the state government is creating this issue to divert attention of some recent controversies. BJP leaders alleged that the Congress was trying to whip up Kannada pride ahead of the 2018 elections.
Therefore, if the existing laws may permit states to have their respective flags, Karnataka will become the second state in the country to officially have a flag of its own after Jammu & Kashmir, which enjoys special status under Article 370 of the Constitution.
Stating that the committee would look into all aspects, Jayachandra said, "We want to be in the mainstream; we don't want to get involved in controversy".
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