Former chief minister and Karnataka Congress leader Siddaramiah on Friday took a potshot at the Centre's 'Har Ghar Tiranga' campaign saying that while the BJP was now celebrating the national flag, its ideological parent RSS was at one time bitterly opposed to the tricolour.
The ruling BJP, however, maintained that the campaign to celebrate the national flag was driven by patriotism and said opposition leaders should not make political attacks against it.
Speaking to the reporters on Friday the Congress leader said, "We have no objection to the 'Har Ghar Tiranga' campaign being run by the BJP. But before that, they should make it compulsory to hoist the national flag in all branches of the RSS," Siddaramiah said.
He demanded that the national flag be hoisted in all RSS offices like Keshav Krupa in Bangalore.
Siddaramiah also claimed that an article, once published in the RSS magazine 'Organizer' around 1947, had referred to the tricolour as an "ominous sign" and the article should be retracted.
"The Central government should apologise for the unsympathetic statements made by the RSS, Jan Sangh, BJP and its related organizations about the national flag, national anthem and the Constitution, Siddaramiah said.
"The national flag was prepared by great patriots like Suraya Tayyabji, Pingali Venkaiah, Gandhiji, Nehru, Subhash Chandra Bose, among others throughout the long freedom struggle.The BJP and RSS will not have a moral stand to hold a campaign of hoist the national flag," he added.
Speaking on polyester-made national flags, he said, "The tricolour represents freedom, democracy and truthfulness. Opposing these ideologies, RSS and BJP are now going to run the Har Ghar Tiranga campaign for publicity. The flag code states that the national flag should be made of cotton. On the contrary, he said that the sanctity of the tricolour has been trivialised by allowing it to be made with polyester cloth," the Congress leader said.
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Asaduddin Owaisi also raised questions about the government's Tiranga campaign. "Organizer magazine is mouthpiece of RSS. One of their issues in 1947 on July 17, demanded country's national flag be saffron. RSS mouthpiece says this and PM says RSS is his foundation and he found inspiration from it," Owaisi said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the 'Har Ghar Tiranga' campaign on July 22 to encourage people to bring the Tiranga home and hoist it to mark the 75th year of India's independence.
Responding to attacks by leaders of political parties, Union minister Culture G Kishan Reddy said that the national flag was not an issue for politics and everyone should participate in the campaign to celebrate it. He urged the opposition leaders to not make political attacks against the drive.
"Nobody listens to Opposition. Everyone is standing with Tiranga, worshipping and saluting it, participating in Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. I want everyone to participate in this on 15th Aug. I urge parties to stop giving statements (against Har Ghar Tiranga)," he said.
"This is not a matter of politics, of Government. This is a matter of the country, of 130 crore people of the country, of Tiranga, of patriotism," Reddy added.
Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav is an initiative of the Government of India to celebrate and commemorate 75 years of independence and the glorious history of its people, culture and achievements.
PM Modi on Sunday called upon all citizens to turn the 'Har Ghar Tiranga' campaign into a mass movement by hoisting or displaying the national flag at their homes and using the 'Tiranga' as a display picture on their social media accounts between August 2 and August 15 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of India's Independence."
"Under the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, from the 13th to the 15th of August, a special movement - 'Har Ghar Tiranga' is being organized. Let us further this movement by hoisting the National Flag at our homes," said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday while addressing the monthly radio programme 'Mann Ki Baat'. (ANI)