Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said on Thursday that the Congress-led state government will stick to their demand of having a separate state flag.
Reiterating his stand, the senior Congress leader said that there was no constitutional impediment for any state to have a separate state flag. This will not mean that the importance of the national flag is denigrated, the CM argued. A separate state flag is a "symbol of our language and culture," he added.
Speaking to Basavaraj Kattimani of The Times of India in Hubballi, CM Siddaramaiah said that having a separate state flag was no insult to the national flag. He argued that the state sings its state anthem Naada Geethe, which is in no way an insult to the national anthem.
"We are living in a federal system. We also sing a naadageete, which is not an insult to the national anthem. The national flag will always be respected. What's wrong if there is a flag as a symbol of our language, land and culture? It will not harm the unity of the nation. Can anyone show me if the Constitution prohibits having a separate flag for the state? Let's wait for the committee report and take a call," he said.
Asked why the Congress had taken up the issue at a time when the state is set to go in for assembly polls, Siddaramaiah said that the demand for a separate state flag was not a recent development, but a demand that dates back to the 1965.
"There has been a demand for a separate flag for Karnataka since 1965. When Kannada activists, including veteran journalist Patil Puttappa, put pressure on the government for a separate flag for Karnataka, we took up the issue. We have set up a committee of experts to study the legal aspects for designing a separate flag for Karnataka legally. We are waiting for the committee to give its opinion, after which we will take a proper decision," he was quoted as saying.
Earlier, Karnataka Law Minister TB Jayachandra had also said that there was nothing wrong in a state having a separate flag.
â€œThe Indian Constitution has three Articles with regard to flags and flag hoisting. The Constitution speaks of the National Flag and protocol that needs to be followed while handling and hoisting it. It, however, does not say anything about states not being allowed to have a flag of their own. Itâ€™s a grey area. So there is no problem with Karnataka having its own flag," the Law Minister had said on Wednesday.