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Saffron flag row: Cong MLAs continue to stay put in Karnataka assembly

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
February 20, 2022 14:33 IST
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The Congress in Karnataka continued its agitation inside the Karnataka assembly for the past three days demanding removal of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister K S Eshwarappa for his alleged statement on the national flag.

IMAGE: Congress MLCs stage a protest against the Karnataka Minister K S Eshwarappa over his controversial statement regarding the national flag, during Karnataka Legislative Council session at Vidhana Soudha, in Bengaluru. Photograph: PTI Photo

The Congress legislators have been camping in the Vidhana Soudha inside the Assembly Hall and have been sleeping there in the night.

"The agitation is happening because of the adamant stand of the BJP. Who is asking for Eshwarappa's resignation? No one. We want his dismissal. Our appeal is also to Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot to dismiss him," Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee chief D K Shivakumar said.


He was confident that the minister would be dismissed from office in the next two days.

Stating that Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai is under pressure from within the party, Shivakumar said if the CM has self-esteem then he would have thrown out 'foul-mouthed' Eshwarappa from the government when the latter had said Medium and Large Industries Minister Murugesh Nirani would become the next chief minister.

However, the chief minister said on Saturday that the Congress has lost the morality to be the opposition party.

Reacting to a question about the protest and camping inside the Karnataka Assembly by Congress party members, Bommai said they had lost morality to be either the ruling party or even sit in the opposition.

"D K Shivakumar and other Congress legislators go home for a while to come back again. The agitation will continue either till the dismissal of Eshwarappa or till the end of the current assembly session," a source close to Shivakumar told PTI.

The source said the legislators have been sleeping at night inside the Assembly, perform yoga under the rising sun and jog and walk around the Vidhana Soudha in the morning.

The Congress in Karnataka has been demanding the resignation of the minister and that he be booked for sedition regarding his statement about the national flag.

The party's agitation led to chaos in the assembly and council proceedings for three days.

Eshwarappa had said on February 9 that 'Bhagwa dhwaj' (saffron flag), may become the national flag some time in the future.

The senior party leader, however, had said the tricolour is the national flag now, and it should be respected by everyone.

"Hundreds of years ago, the chariots of Sri Ramachandra and Maruthi had saffron flags on them. Was the tricolour flag there in our country then? Now, it (tricolour) is fixed as our national flag, what respect it has to be given, should be given by every person who eats food in this country, there is no question about it," Eshwarappa had said.

Responding to a question by reporters, whether the saffron flag can be hoisted on the red fort, he had said: "Not today, some day in the future."

"Discussions are today taking place in the country on 'Hindu vichara' and 'Hindutva'. People used to laugh at one point when we said Ram Mandair will be constructed in Ayodhya, aren't we constructing it now?" he said.

"In the same way some time in the future, after 100 or 200 or 500 years Bhagwa dhwaj may become the national flag. I don't know," Eshwarappa added.

The 'overnight agitation' by the Congress came even as protests by the party legislators rocked the proceedings in both houses.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.