Just weeks before assembly polls, Chief Minister unveils Karnataka's new flag

Siddaramaiah unveils new tricolour flag for Karnataka

The Siddaramaiah government on Thursday unveiled the State flag ( nada dhwaja ) for Karnataka. In the flag is the state's emblem, "Ganda Bherunda", a two-headed mythical bird.

A committee formed by the state government previous year had recommended the separate flag for Karnataka discounting any constitutional or legal hurdles for it. The "gandabherunda" is considered to be a symbol of the Mysore kingdom, and was seen as early as 1510 on coins from the Vijayanagara empire.

Detailing about the flag design, Siddaramaiah said the tricolour flag has white colour at the middle of yellow and the red flag that "we unofficially use now". The flag was, however, an unofficial one and was used usually by pro-Kannada outfits.

A nine member committee was formed to design a "state" flag and submit a report on giving it legal sanctity.

Hailing the new flag, Siddaramaiah tweeted that Kannada organisations have "endorsed" the historic decision of the state government and accepted the new flag.

The flag design will now be sent to the Centre for its approval, following which it can be unfurled in state meetings. The notification was withdrawn after the Karnataka High Court raised questions on the legality of states having their own flags.

It is unfurled every year on November 1, Karnataka's foundation day, and at public places across the state. The JDS has welcomed the Kannada flag though initially it called it an election gimmick.

The new flag is also an attempt to corner the BJP in the state, which has, in the past, not favoured such a move and dubbed it an effort that goes against national sentiments and also a diversionary tactic by Siddaramaiah. Not so long ago, the state government had launched a "No To Hindi" campaign, whereby signboards written in Hindi were removed and replaced with English and Kannada languages in Bangalore.

Mukhyamantri Chandru, a member of the flag committee said, "There is nothing in the Constitution that says states should not have a flag". "We will press upon the Centre to clear this soon", he said.

Chief minister Siddaramaiah unveiling the new flag of Karnataka. The flag was created in 1972 and represents the three regions of Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh.

But after receiving flak from the citizens of the state then, this time they have made a decision to not say anything lest they offend either their party high command or the people of the state. "Also, nuances like what would be the protocol and code for the flag among other issues", he had said. The setting up of the panel resulted in a controversy with BJP accusing Congress of subverting the national flag.

Asked whether the Centre will give its approval, he said "the Constitution does not say that the state should not have its flag, so I believe they will agree".

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