Karnataka Congress legislators spent a whole night inside the Assembly and Council, escalating their demand for the dismissal of Bharatiya Janata Party minister KS Eshwarappa for his controversial remarks about the national flag.
“It is a matter of pride in our country and of protecting its honour and the dignity of the national flag,” the Karnataka Congress tweeted late on Thursday. “How can the party that built India stand back and watch as others insult it? The dharna will continue until a sedition case is filed against.”
Last week, Eshwarappa, Karnataka’s minister of rural development and panchayat raj, had said that a saffron flag could replace the national flag at some point in the future. He had also hinted that the saffron flag may be hoisted at Delhi’s Red Fort.
On Friday, Congress state president DK Shivakumar told mediapersons that party members will not give up the demonstration till Eshwarappa is dismissed.
“Our agitation will continue,” he said. “We do not want the resignation of the ‘foul-mouthed’ Eshwarappa. We want the Governor and the Chief Minister to dismiss him.”
Eshwarappa said that there is no question of him resigning. He instead asked Shivakumar to quit his post as he had been “misusing” the national flag for protests.
“Let them stay inside the assembly and legislative council forever,” he said. “Let Shivakumar see what I had said. I had never ever insulted the national tricolour.”
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai also said that the protest by Congress followed a misinterpretation of Eshwarappa’s statement.
“There is nothing wrong in Eshwarappa’s statement, there is nothing in his statement that is against law,” he claimed. “As they [Congress] don’t have any other issues they are doing this.”
He added that the night-long protests were held without a reason.