The BBC explains why it has become such a contentious issue. There was a longstanding demand by Kannada activists for an official state flag, but now it has snowballed into a major controversy as a renewed assertion of Kannada identity with pro-Kannada activists staging a protest recently against the use of Hindi in Bengaluru's Namma Metro. "Having a separate flag can not be termed anti-national", the chief minister declared.
Asserting that there was no legal bar on states to have a separate flag, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday said the state government would consider if the panel set up to design it so favoured. The matter had been reported in the local media at the time, but it was picked up again on Tuesday, and projected as an effort by Karnataka's Congress government to subvert the national flag and the laws that allow only Jammu and Kashmir to have its own flag. The government has even appointed a nine member committee to submit a report on giving its legal sanctity.
He toed the 'One Nation, One Flag, ' stand of BJP's central leadership. Does the Constitution of India permit the state to have its own flag?
"The chief minister said", Is there any provision in the constitution that prohibits a state from having a own flag?" "The Constitution has not said anything about having or not having a state flag, so why are the BJP and the JDS quoting non-existent clauses?", he said. Has the BJP come across any such provision in the constitution? Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said the Karnataka government's move was "against the nation's integrity", and sought imposition of President's rule in the state. "The polls are scheduled only for May next year", Siddaramaiah said. "It has nothing to do with the elections", he said. The party is embarrassed by how the opposition has used the move to turn the tables on it.
"Having a flag of our own is certainly not against nationalism or integrity. It is meant only for Karnataka and is not given any official recognition by the Constitution or the judiciary", he said.
How does the world deal with this issue?
The blood tainted shirt of one of the victims was hoisted as the new flag of Kashmir by the crowd. Till this day, the perceived undermining of Kannada language and culture by the settlers is seen as a flashpoint for the politics in the state. This too forced him to think that Karnataka did not have a flag as its identity.
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