Union Culture and Tourism Minister Prahlad Patel has claimed that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was using the national flag as a “decoration” during his recent televised addresses, thereby disrespecting it, PTI reported.

He addresses the people of Delhi almost every day from his desk in his office. The televised briefings show the national flag behind him as he announces the Delhi government’s policies and decisions on vaccines, Covid numbers or lockdown guidelines. During the pandemic, Kejriwal and his administration have often been at odds with the central government regarding the Centre’s handling of the virus outbreak.

Patel, in his letter to Kejriwal on Thursday, claimed that this national flag was used merely for decoration. “The white portion in the centre appears to have been reduced and the green portion added to it, which is not in tune with provisions of the Indian Flag Code specified by the Ministry of Home Affairs,” Patel wrote. “I do not expect such an act, knowingly or unknowingly, from the honourable Chief Minister.”

Patel also marked the letter to Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal. He said that he would like to draw Kejriwal’s attention to Section 2(ix) of The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971. It states that the national flag must not be a decoration on a speaker’s stage.

“Being a resident of India and holding the post of the proud Chief Minister of a State, everyone expects you to maintain the honour and the dignity of the Tricolour, a symbol of national pride,” Patel wrote.

The statement comes as India is still reeling from the impact of the second wave of the coronavirus. On Friday, India reported 1,86,364 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours, taking the overall tally to 2,75,55,457 since the pandemic first broke out in January 2020. The toll rose by 3,660 to 31,88,95, while the active caseload stood at 23,43,152.

Last month, Delhi faced a severe shortage of medical supplies such as oxygen and beds. Daily Covid-19 cases had climbed to over 28,000 in April and the positivity rate also crossed 30%. In his address on Friday, the chief minister said that in the last 24 hours, the positivity rate had come down to 1.5% and there were around 1,150 cases. He said beds, including in intensive care units and those with oxygen support, were available now.