Karnataka government appoints panel to design its own state flag

Kannada flag

While the committee will look into the legal aspects of a state flag, experts TOI spoke to say the existing laws may permit states to have a flag of their own. "India is one nation, and there can not be two flags in one country", former Karnataka Chief Minister and Union minister DV Sadananda Gowda told The Times of India.

In a big development, the Congress government in Karnataka has set up a nine member committee to design a state flag (an identity symbol unique to the state), according to a report in The Times of India.

In 2012, Karnataka's BJP government accorded official status to the Karnataka flag through a notification.

The move has come under heavy criticism from all quarters.

Five years later, the Siddaramaiah government is proposing a separate flag for the state, coinciding with protests against the alleged imposition of Hindi in the state.

Currently, only Jammu and Kashmir can have a flag as per the special status it enjoys under Article 370 of the Constitution.




The moves comes at the backdrop of representations made by writer Patil Puttappa and RTI activist Bheemappa Gadad, asking for such a flag. A state can have its own flag.

The red and yellow flag has been Karnataka's unofficial state flag for decades.

When the issue was raised in the assembly, the then Kannada and culture minister Govind M Karjol had said: "The Flag Code does not allow flags for states".

Though Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has defended his government's move on the grounds that constitution does not bar states from having its own flag, it is interesting to note that the Congress had opposed a similar move when proposed by BJP. Arguing that a state flag would go against the unity and integrity of the country, the government had said that separate state flags "could diminish the importance of the national flag and could lead to narrow-minded regional feelings".

In New Delhi, a Home Ministry official told reporters that "We are one nation, one flag", but "legally, there is no provision either for providing or prohibiting a separate flag for any state". "The flag controversy provided ammunition to the BJP, just when we were going after them on issues such as lynching by cow vigilantes", said a senior Congress leader. The government then said it would not make it mandatory to fly the state flag.

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