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Overnight stir in K’taka assembly over minister’s “saffron flag” remark

By Priyanka Verma 
Updated Date

Karnataka: Karnataka assembly saw an overnight stir by the Congress MLAs – led by former chief minister Siddarmaiah – amid escalating row over state minister KS Eshwarappa’s “saffron flag may become the national flag in future” remark. The minister, however, has found support from the BJP government. The 73-year-old minister’s comment has drawn huge criticism. Dismissing the protests, he said on Thursday, February 17,– “Let them protest. I won’t budge.”

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Visuals showed DK Shivakumar and other opposition MLAs inside the assembly on Thursday night holding a sit-in, and raising slogans. They demanded a sedition case be filed against the minister.

“It is a matter of pride in our country and of protecting it’s honour and the dignity of the national flag. How can the party that built India stand back and watch as others insult it? The dharna will continue until a sedition case is filed against @ikseshwarappa,” Karnataka Congress said in a tweet. Thursday was the second straight day that the state assembly witnessed chaos over the controversy.

“They want to change the constitution. They want to change the national flag… the minister is admitting what he said. The Chief Minister has not sacked him. So we are demanding that he has to resign,” DK Shivakumar told reporters on Thursday night, stressing that “whole day and night, we will protest.”

The controversy comes in the midst of hijab row simmering in the southern state – a slew of petitions on the matter are being heard in the high court.

The comment that is at the centre of the controversy is – “Hundreds of years ago the chariots of Sri Ramachandra and Maruthi had saffron flags on them. Was the tricolour flag there in our country then? Now it (tricolour) is fixed as our national flag, what respect it has to be given, should be given by every person who takes food in this country, there is no question about it.”

Responding to question, the minister said the saffron flag may be hoisted at the Red Fort in future. “Discussions are today taking place in the country on ‘Hindu vichara’ and ‘Hindutva’. People used to laugh at one point when we said Ram Mandir will be constructed in Ayodhya, aren’t we constructing it now? In the same way some time in the future, after 100 or 200 or 500 years Bhagwa dhwaj may become the national flag. I don’t know,” he had said.

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