Karnataka can have its own state-flag: Constitutional expert

Drawing flak after Karnataka government set up a panel of nine-member to design state's legally-accepted flag, KC Venugopal, state in-charge for Congress party, said he will seek a clarification from the state government on the issue.

The announcement received instant criticism from opposition parties including the Bharatiya Janata Party who alleged that political considerations were at play.

However, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has denied the allegation, saying he had enquired whether there was any Constitutional provision that prohibited a state from having its own flag. Have you come across any such provision in the Constitution? Did the BJP leaders come across the provision? 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 separate constitution of the state makes it mandatory to hoist the state flag along with the national flag.

Although there is no bar in the Constitution, experts feel that the head of the state should think about its impact on the unity and integrity of the country. The Kannada flag, which is divided into two equal horizontal stripes, a yellow strip for the top half and a red strip below, could become the official state flag of Karnataka. Meanwhile, Siddaramaiah defended the demand for a separate flag for the state. "The state flag is a recognition of our sentiments, culture and feelings", Kannada activist Bhimappa Gadad told News18.

Only Jammu and Kashmir has a flag of its own and there is no desire for a flag in another state.

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".

"Our party is not opposed to Karnataka having a separate flag". The flag gained popularity after famous Kannada actor RajKumar waved the flag in a very popular Kannada song. He designed a flag with yellow and red around 1965. A state can have its own flag. However, the proposal was quashed after seeking the law department's advice. But the notification was withdrawn later that year after a legal battle.

Following series of protests by Kannada activists against Hindi imposition in Bengaluru's Namma Metro and in signboards, the Hindi speaking people in the country have started to target "Kannadigas" and calling them "anti-nationals" or 'regionalists'.

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