Bengaluru: The Siddaramaiah government in Karnataka unveiled a state flag on Thursday. The flag or “Naada Dwaja” with red, white and yellow colours has state emblem “Ganda Bherunda”, a two-headed mythical bird in the middle.
The committee to decide the design of the flag headed by Kannada Development Authority (KDA) chairman S G Siddaramaiah submitted the new design to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah at the Vidhana Soudha on Thursday morning.
The CM has accepted the design and assured the committee that he will send it the Centre. He said that there was no bar on state flags in the Constitution and all states can have their own flags.
Earlier, Karnataka had an informal or unofficial yellow and red flag used by Kannada organisations and others. The same flag was used at government functions. After public demand for an official flag, Siddaramaiah had formed a committee to come out with a design.
The Kannada flag had led to a war of words between the ruling Congress and main opposition BJP when the committee was formed. BJP leaders, including Shobha Karandlaje, had questioned it saying that Siddaramaiah was practising divisive politics. After public uproar against BJP’s stand, the saffron party decided to quieten its stand on the issue.
Even the Union Home Ministry had expressed its disapproval then.
Speaking to News18 Siddaramaiah said “Kannada flag is not unconstitutional. It is not barred by the Constitution. The only thing is we have to hoist it below the national flag, which we will anyway do. We will send the design to the Centre. Hope they approve it. There has been a long pending demand for it. I am happy that we finally have a Kannada Baavuta (Kannada Flag).”
The chief minister who has been cleverly using the Kannada nationalism card to counter BJP’s nationalism card seems to have put the saffron party on back foot once again. Following a huge protest over Hindi imposition by the Centre, Siddaramaiah had ordered removal of Hindi signage from Bengaluru Metro in last July. He has also taken several measures to uphold the primacy of Kannada in Karnataka.
The BJP has decided to maintain silence over the new Kannada flag fearing that any opposition might cost them votes and the party will be branded as anti-Kannada.
The BJP has also woken up to Kannada sentiments and playing its own Kannada card in the elections. The JDS has welcomed the Kannada flag though initially it called it an election gimmick.