Unfazed by the controversy his government has kicked off over the separate State flag issue, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah continues to maintain that there is no prohibition in the Constitution for a State to have its own flag.

“Has the Nada Geethe of Karnataka disgraced the national anthem in any way? The same way, the State flag will not dishonour the national flag. The idea is to hoist the State flag under the national flag. We will ensure that the national flag will not be disrespected in any way. A final decision will be taken only after the committee submits its reports,” he shot back at his political detractors on Wednesday.

According to sources, Siddaramaiah is also learnt to have defied his own cabinet colleagues, who suggested that it would be better dissolve the committee that has been set up to design a separate flag for Karnataka. 
He is learnt to have told them not to behave like the BJP leaders. Also, if steps were taken to dissolve the committee, then it would reflect poorly on the government.

The issue kicked up a storm on Tuesday, after reports emerged that the government was mulling over having a separate flag. With the opposition parties accusing the Congress government for encouraging separatism, a worried Congress high command tried to put an end to the controversy, with AICC general secretary K C Venugopal seeking an explanation from the State unit of the party. He later said that the government was merely exploring legalities of having a separate flag and nothing beyond that.

Sources said that the Kannada and Culture department constituted the committee on behest of the chief minister himself. Department officials said that the chief minister’s office had sent a note to the department directing it to set up the committee.

Siddaramaiah himself has said that this was done following requests from pro-Kannada activists like Patil Puttappa. However, the jibes taken by his political rivals, especially the BJP which has accused him of trying to pull a political stunt, has not gone down well with Siddaramaiah.

He said that the opposition was unnecessarily politicising the entire issue, and that BJP leader B S Yeddyurappa was exhibiting heartburn. “When Yeddyurappa was in power, he did nothing. Now that the Congress government is trying to do something, he is unable to tolerate it,” he said.

Siddaramaiah has asked Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T B Jayachandra to douse the controversy surrounding the issue. The Minister has also been asked to hold discussions with the committee members and submit a report to the chief minister.