Karnataka flag issue: A panel formed by the Congress government in Karnataka has come up with a suggestion to resolve the much debated flag issue. It has been learnt that the government panel had sugggested that state can have an official three-coloured flag. It said the official flag will replace an unofficial two-coloured one. Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has said the recommendation will be taken up for consideration in the state cabinet. Subsequently, it will be sent to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for clearance. Meanwhile, the pro-Kannada groups, who have been vehemently demanded official state flag, have raised issue about the official flag for the state. Veteran pro-Kannada activist Vatal Nagaraj has stated that the colors recommended for the flag by the panel is not representative of the state. Nagaraj asserted that they would oppose this flag if the state government accepts the recommendation. If Ministry of Home Affairs cleared the proposal, Karnataka will be the second state after Jammu and Kashmir to have an official state flag.
Last year, Siddaramaiah government had formed the panel but it was criticised severly by Opposition parties. A nine-member committee was led by chairman of Kannada Development Authority G S Siddaramaya. A home ministry official earlier had said that there was no legal bar on a state having a separate flag but it represents people and not the government.
Notably, the unofficial flag of Karnataka was not used at ceremonies like Republic Day or Independence Day but on occasions like the state’s foundation day. However, the use of that flag has been challenged in court.
Regarding the panel, it comprises secretaries to the departments of Personnel and Administrative Services, Home, Law and Parliamentary Affairs, as also president of Kannada Sahitya Parishat, chairman of Kannada Development Authority, and vice-chancellor of Kannada University, Hampi, as its members. The Director of Department of Kannada and Culture is the member-secretary to the committee.
The unofficial but widely seen red and yellow ‘Kannada flag’ that is hoisted in every nook and corner of the state on November one every year to commemorate the state formation day and used in the form of a scarf by Kannada activists was designed by Veera Senani Ma.Ramamurthy in the 1960s. The Sadananda Gowda-led BJP government had in 2012 informed the Karnataka High Court that it has not accepted the suggestions to declare the bi-colour Kannada flag as the state’s official flag, as having a separate flag would be “against the unity and integrity of the country.”