Bengaluru: Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday unveiled a new tricolour Kannada flag for the state following a meeting with Kannada activists, who were persuaded to go along with the government on the fresh design.
The flag with its strips of yellow, white and red, has a blue logo representing the erstwhile Mysuru state and Karnataka and four lions of the national emblem etched above the state emblem of a two- headed bird ,the Ganda Bherunda. Alongside them are two Gaja Kesaris or lion -necked elephants.
Thursday's meeting was attended by Kannada activists, Narayana Gowda, Sara Govindu and Shivaram Shetty and noted Kannada writers like Chandrashekhar Kambar. A strong opponent of the new flag, Vatal Nagaraj of the Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha, who is in Delhi, was absent and has threatened a massive agitation against it.
Speaking to reporters, Mr Siddaramaiah said there was some confusion about the new state flag but it had been cleared at the meeting. The state would now approach the Centre for its approval of the new flag, he explained.
But things are not likely to go as smoothly as the CM anticipates as speaking to the Deccan Chronicle from Delhi, Mr Vatal Nagaraj, said he planned to hold a massive agitation against it. "Mr Manu Baligar, the chairman of the committee, which pondered over the matter and recommended the new flag to the government, has no knowledge of the history of the Kannada flag. In 1960, there was a recommendation for a yellow flag with seven petals representing the seven royal states in Karnataka. Later in 1966, I was part of the team that settled on the red and yellow flag, which is considered auspicious for the state. But now after 50 years when lakhs of Kannada flags are already flying across the state, the government has come out with this," he protested, demanding, ‘Why was white added to the flag? What is the significance? And what was the hurry to unveil it? Were people sitting on a hunger strike and dying for the announcement? This is nothing but a political stunt made with an eye on the coming elections."
Meanwhile, going by sources, pro-Kannada organisations could form a new Kannada party to fight the elections on issues like the state flag and the Mahadayi and Cauvery water disputes.