Andhra CM urges PM to confer Bharat Ratna upon Pingali Venkaiah posthumously; honours Indian flag designer's daughter

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Amaravati, Mar 12 (PTI) Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy on Friday urged the Centre to confer the Bharat Ratna upon Pingali Venkaiah who designed the National Flag, posthumously.

He also felicitated Ghantasala Sitamahalakshmi, daughter of late Venkaiah, marking the inauguration of the 75-week-long 'Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav' in the state.

The Chief Minister presented Rs 75 lakh to Sitamahalakshmi and wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting that the Centre confer the highest civilian award Bharat Ratna on Venkaiah posthumously.

'Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav' celebrations is a central government initiative to mark 75 years of Independence.

Venkaiah, who hailed from Krishna district, designed the National Flag and presented it to Mahatma Gandhi during the latter's visit to Vijayawada city on April 1, 1921.

On July 22, 1947, the Constituent Assembly adopted the flag designed by Venkaiah as the National Tricolour.

'The flag designed by him came to be synonymous with the spirit of free and independent India.However, his life and works largely remain unrecognised,' the Chief Minister pointed out in the letter to the Prime Minister.

'It is in this light I request you to confer Bharat Ratna (posthumously) upon Sri Pingali Venkaiah that would not only bequeath peace on his parted soul but also fulfill the aspirations of the people of Andhra Pradesh,' Jagan noted.

That would be a 'deserving acknowledgment' to the life and contribution of late Sri Pingali Venkaiah, the Chief Minister added.

Jagan, who visited Macherla town where Sitamahalakshmi was now staying, garlanded the bust of Mahatma Gandhi and inspected a photo exhibition on the life and works of Venkaiah.

He felicitated her and other members of the family and handed over a copy of the Government Order granting an award of Rs 75 lakh while the amount was directly credited into her bank account.

Venkaiah's daughter presented the biography of her father to the Chief Minister.

She recalled the day when her father handed over the National Flag to Mahatma Gandhi in Vijayawada.

'He also introduced me to the Mahatma,' the octogenarian recalled.

Earlier, Special Chief Secretary (Tourism and Culture) Rajat Bhargava interacted with Sitamahalakshmi and other members of the family and explained the various events being planned for the 'Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav' celebrations in the state.

In the evening, Krishna district Collector A Md Imtiyaz led a rally in Vijayawada city to mark the inauguration of the event.

Cultural programmes were organized in Tirupati and Visakhapatnam cities as well. PTI DBV BN BN