Bengaluru: Bharatiya Janata Party Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj K.S. Eshwarappa’s statement about the saffron flag being hoisted at the Red Fort has become a flashpoint between the government and the opposition in Karnataka.
Congress leaders staged a protest in the well of the Assembly holding the national flag and charging that Eshwarappa has insulted the Tricolour and he should be sacked from the cabinet.
This led to a chaotic situation in the Assembly. Unable to continue with the proceedings, Speaker Vishveshwara Hegde Kageri adjourned the House till Thursday. The Congress has warned the BJP that if Eshwarappa is not dropped from the cabinet, a call on an overnight protest in the Assembly will be taken.
Reacting to the incident, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said that the Congress had used the national flag in the well of the House. There is a code as far as the national flag is concerned as per how and where it should be used. “We have to use the national flag with respect, the Congress has violated it. People are watching, the Congress has failed as a responsible opposition party,” he said.
Congress State President D.K. Shivakumar stated that the Governor should have sacked Eshwarappa for his statement about hoisting the saffron flag at the Red Fort. Bommai should have taken his resignation. The police department should have lodged a case of sedition against him. Nothing has been done.
They have hoisted a saffron flag on the flag post where the Tricolour was supposed to be hoisted. Eshwarappa has agreed that he had brought saffron shawls from Ayodhya and distributed them to students. “We all should fight against anti-nationals. It is our responsibility. Eshwarappa’s resignation should have been taken and he should be investigated on sedition charges. The Speaker of the House is behaving like a party person,” Shivakumar charged.
The farmers who have hoisted their flag in place of the national flag have been charged with sedition. Why is there no case against Eshwarappa for his remarks? BJP leaders maintain that the national anthem, national flag should be changed. The RSS has not respected them for a single day. In January 26, 2002, the national flag was not hoisted at the RSS headquarters at Nagpur. The BJP wants Manusmriti in place of the Constitution, Opposition leader Siddaramaiah alleged.
If Manusmriti is implemented, Eshwarappa will never get an opportunity to become a minister again, he will be a shepherd or sweeper. He talks without knowing anything. Eshwarappa is enslaved to the RSS. He should be dropped from the cabinet before the commencement of the Assembly session on Thursday. Otherwise, protests will erupt during the session and outside as well, he added.
Eshwarappa maintained that the Congress party is dividing students on the basis of religion. Firstly, Shivakumar insulted the national flag by stating that the saffron flag was hoisted at Shivamogga College after taking off the national flag, which is a blatant lie. “I have been in the Assembly since 1989. What happened today is a black mark in the history of the legislative assembly. No political party has so far misused the national flag to pursue its agenda,” he added.
Eshwarappa apologized for taking the name of Shivakumar’s father in the heat of the moment during the discussion in the Assembly.