Karnataka govt won't pursue proposal for separate state flag

Wednesday 04th September 2019 05:58 EDT

Bengaluru: The BJP government in Karnataka indicated that it would not pursue the previous Congress government's proposal for a separate state flag that was pending before the central government. The government is also mulling over celebrating birth anniversary of prominent personalities in a "different way", as the present practice depicts them only as "community icons".

Tricolor is the only constitutional flag. There was no opposition for having cultural flag, but constitutionally there is only one flag for the country and that is tricolor flag," Minister for Kannada and Culture C T Ravi said in response to a question. Speaking to reporters, after holding meeting with officials on assuming office, he said, "... we can have Kannada flag as cultural flag, constitutionally there is no such provision for state flag according to flag code."

Asked whether the state government would not pursue the proposal that was before the central government, he merely said, "the country is one and we only think about unity." Flagging off the "Kannadiga pride" ahead of the assembly polls, the then Congress government headed by Siddaramaiah in March 2018 had unveiled the proposed official state flag for Karnataka, and had sent it to central government for approval.

Siddaramaiah government had requested the Centre to include the Karnataka flag in the schedule of the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1950. The 'Naada Dwaja' (state's flag) in hues of yellow, white and red, had the state's emblem 'Gandaberunda' or the two-headed mythological bird, at its centre. A committee formed by the then government had recommended the separate flag for Karnataka, discounting any constitutional or legal hurdles for it.

However, in May 2018 following Siddaramaiah demanding Prime Minister Narendra Modi to approve the state flag, a Home Ministry official had said the Karnataka government's proposal

to approve an official flag for the state was put on hold as the election code of conduct came into force for upcoming Assembly polls. The issue had gone to the back burner as Congress lost in the assembly polls.

Ravi also said, the government was mulling over celebrating birth anniversary of prominent personalities differently. "I'm told that the department celebrates jayanti's (birth anniversary) of 25 prominent personalities and most of the department's efforts are utilised for celebrating these

jayanti's. While a few jayanti's are with public participation, the others are like government sponsored symbolic programme without any public participation," he said.

With regard to celebration of these jayanti's there is plan to consult political leaders of all parties and leaders of various communities, he said," celebration of jayanti's is right, but there is need for a rethink about how it need to be celebrated." Ravi said, instead of scrapping the celebration of jayanti's "we should discuss and decide on how different they can be celebrated or else the issue may get politicised".

"These jayanti's rather than becoming celebration among masses, were getting limited to certain communities or castes making those personalities as community specific icons, so they need to be celebrated in a different way that the messages of those personalities reach people irrespective of the community they belong to," he added. Soon after coming to power last month the BJP government had cancelled the annual birth anniversary celebrations of the controversial 18th century ruler of the erstwhile Mysore Kingdom, Tipu Sultan, being organised since 2015.

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