CM Siddaramaiah unveils Karnataka flag

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Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday unveiled the state flag, terming the move a historic decision that has been taken keeping in mind the history of the state and to promote the self-respect of the people, although analysts say the primary motivation may be the coming state elections. "Leaders of Kannada outfits agreed to the recommendations on the design of State flag", he added.

The new flag, called "Naada Dhwaja" in Kannada, is has white stripe in between two stripes of colours yellow and red.

A committee formed by the state government past year had recommended the separate flag for Karnataka discounting any constitutional or legal hurdles for it. The emblem is based on the emblem of the kingdom of Mysore. The then government had told the court that it had not accepted suggestions to declare the red-and-yellow Kannada flag the official state flag, as that would go against the "unity and integrity of the country".

The BJP has chose to maintain silence over the new Kannada flag fearing that any opposition might cost them votes and the party will be branded as anti-Kannada. The State Chief Minister Siddaramaiah while unveiling the proposed flag expressed hope that the decision will be endorsed by the Center.

The state flag-Nada Dwaja in Kannada-that has already been approved by the cabinet, will now be sent to the Union home ministry for its approval, the chief minister's office said.

The committee has informed the CM that there is no provision in the Constitution that disallows states from having their own flags.

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In the tri-colour Stage flag, white symbolises peace with State emblem. The state government will send the details of the flag to the central government, following which it will be announced as the flag of Karnataka. It was Kannada writer and activists MA Ramamurthy who designed the first flag for a political party.

Before Sikkim was annexed, it had its own national flag, with a Buddhist prayer wheel in the centre. This flag is unofficially considered as state flag since 1960s.

The Opposition BJP had earlier disapproved of the idea of a separate flag for the state but later diluted its stand after uproar by the public.

The Congress has understood that it would be tough for the BJP to oppose such a move that is seen as Kannada pride by many.

Prakash said the BJP had no objection to the state flag or its design. He also said that there are no legal complications.

Last year, the government also weighed in on the side of the pro-Kannada organisations protesting the use of Hindi in signboards at metro rail stations.