‘What’s illegal about a Karnataka flag?’: State Law Min takes on national BJP, Yeddy talks soft

The Law Minister said that there is no Act in the Indian Constitution which prohibits a state from having an individual flag.
‘What’s illegal about a Karnataka flag?’: State Law Min takes on national BJP, Yeddy talks soft
‘What’s illegal about a Karnataka flag?’: State Law Min takes on national BJP, Yeddy talks soft
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Should Karnataka have its own state flag?

While the BJP has been crying hoarse over the state government’s move to form a committee for finalising a state flag, the Congress government in Karnataka has refused to give an inch.

Challenging the ‘one nation, one flag’ stand of the BJP, the state law Minister on Wednesday declared that there was nothing illegal about having a flag for Karnataka.

The Law Minister, TB Jayachandra said on Wednesday, “The 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. It’s a grey area. So there is no problem with Karnataka having its own flag.”

Addressing the media after the cabinet meeting, he stated that his department is looking into the legalities of the issues before making a decision.

“We have an unofficial state anthem for Karnataka. But we do sing it at public events. It is meant only for Karnataka and is not given any official recognition by the Constitution or the judiciary,” he said.

The Law Minister said that he would hold a meeting with his department officials along with those of the Kannada and Culture Department to discuss the constitutional concerns raised by the opposition regarding the flag issue and then forward the report to the nine-member committee for further inspection.

“The committee was set up in July but has not met yet. We will now look into the legalities with caution considering it is a matter of public debate,” Jayachandra told media persons.

Reacting to Karnataka's move to have a separate flag, Union minister DV Sadananda Gowda had said, “India is one nation, and it can't have two flags.”

In the year 2011 too, during the tenure of the previous BJP-led government, the government had taken a decision not to have a separate state flag. The opposition to having a state flag was based on the notion that it would "diminish the importance of the national flag.”

In the same vein, BJP State President, BS Yeddyurappa had also initially condemned the move.

“The Congress government is going by the word of a few pro-Kannada groups and resorting to anti-national activities. We must have one flag. Having a state flag is a disrespect to the national flag and reeks of secessionism, ” Yeddyurappa had said on Tuesday.

However, just a day later, the BJP veteran changed his tune and said that he is not against Karnataka having a separate flag.

“I am not against Karnataka having a separate flag but the CM must consult with legal experts and the opposition before taking a decision,” Yeddyurappa told media persons.

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.

“Let them (BJP) say that they do not want a flag for Karnataka. They too are apprehensive about how it will affect their vote banks. This is not a political issue and the BJP is the one which is politicising it,” Siddaramaiah told the media on Wednesday. 

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