The Karnataka state government has not yet informed the central government that it is setting up an exploratory committee to study the prospect of having a separate flag for the state, the home ministry said.
Karnataka has an unofficial yellow and red flag that is widely used on days such as the Rajyotsava or state celebration day to commemorate the setting up for the state in 1953.
Typically, no state in India has its own flag — official or unofficial.
Jammu & Kashmir has its own special flag and also enjoys several other privileges that elevate it above the status of other states in India.
In July this year, the Congress government in Karnataka announced the setting up of a committee to study the issue of giving a “statutory standing” to the Karnataka flag.
Asked whether the center has been consulted about the move, junior minister for home affairs Kiran Rijiju replied in the negative.
“The Government of Karnataka has not made available any details about the setting up of Committee in this regard.”
He also said the Constitution did not contain anything about states having their own flags.
“There is no reference in the Constitution of India for a separate flag for a State,” he said.
The reply by the center may indicate that the state government is not very serious about the issue, but could be eyeing the issue a campaigning plank for the upcoming elections.
The setting up of the committee by the Siddaramaiah government is seen an attempt to counter the “nationalistic” pitch of the opposition BJP with a “regionalistic” pitch.
Karnataka’s capital Bangalore has been the scene for many movements that seek to assert the local culture and to prevent what the activists call the imposition of North Indian culture, such as the use of Dev-Nagari script on the local metro-rail system.