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Karnataka flag issue: Shiv Sena dares Sonia to sack CM Siddaramaiah

Mumbai : Attacking the Karnataka government for exploring the possibility of having a state flag, the Shiv Sena said Congress president Sonia Gandhi should sack the chief minister as the move went against the history and ideals of her party.

It also demanded that the Centre dissolve the Karnataka government or immediately stop all assistance to the state.

The saffron party termed the Congress government’s move in Karnataka as “despicable” and “unconstitutional” which amounts to “treason”. It is an insult to the national flag and the freedom fighters and the jawans who have sacrificed their lives for the country, an editorial in Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ said.

“(Congress president) Sonia Gandhi should make CM Siddaramaiah resign and show her love for the nation,” the Sena demanded. “The Congress government in Karnataka has indulged in a despicable act by seeking a separate flag for the state,” the editorial said. “This is a challenge to the integrity of the nation, an insult to the national flag and to the freedom fighters and the jawans sacrificing their lives on the border,” it said.

The Sena said Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel worked to bring all states under a single national flag but Siddaramaiah has gone against his own party’s ideology.

The Karnataka government recently formed a nine-member committee to submit a report on designing a separate flag for the state and providing a legal standing for it, with the Chief Minister defending the move saying there is no constitutional provision against it.

If the flag comes into being, Karnataka will be the second state to have its official flag after Jammu and Kashmir, which enjoys a special status under Article 370 of the Constitution. The Karnataka state elections are due next year.

The Sena editorial said, had Siddaramaiah wanted a unique identity for Karnataka, he could have done exceptional work and made his state stand out amongst others. But, there is nothing that he has done and hence making these “outrageous demands”.

“Since the chief minister has indulged in an unconstitutional act, the Centre should dissolve Siddaramaiah’s government or immediately stop all kinds of assistance to the state,” it said. “It has to be shown that national integrity is not just about speeches and advertisements,” the Sena said.

“Tomorrow they (the rulers of Karnataka) may demand a separate Constitution… Even as the country is grappling with the special status accorded to Kashmir, the Congress has back-stabbed the nation (by its move to on separate state flag),” the Sena alleged. The issue has kicked up a storm, with the state government coming under fire from various political parties and organisations.

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut had earlier called it “anti-constitutional” and demanded the imposition of President’s rule in Karnataka.

The Karnataka government yesterday said the issue of whether a state could have its own flag was a “grey area” as there was no mention of it in any of the Acts in the country.
PTI